This article was published on June 7th, 2017
2016 was a difficult year for LGBT people and other minorities. Even Pride Toronto was swept up in the controversy when Black Lives Matter took over the parade and wouldn’t leave until their demands were met. The Executive Director was put in a difficult position and sided with Black Lives Matter, and ended with Pride Toronto being wrapped up in a political scandal last year, which resulted in the banning of all police presence from future festivities. The net result was the resignation of the Executive Director. Now, nearly a year later, Pride Toronto has issued a statement acknowledging that police will be able to be present, but only in plain clothes.
Because of pressure from Black Lives Matter, whose demands included banning police floats and police presence at the festival, Pride Toronto has been defending their decision ever since, and over the past 10 months, has upheld their decision to not allow police participation at Pride Toronto events. However, in a May 7, 2017 media release, Pride Toronto changed its position, allowing functional role officers to participate, for the safety of the public.
In a statement from new Executive Director Olivia Nuameh, police officers and their allies are able to participate in events, as long as there are no indicative signs that they are affiliated with police force:
“We welcome and encourage their participation to add to Pride this year as members of our community. LGBTQ+ police officers and their allies can march in the Parade with community groups, with the City of Toronto, or even create their own group. We are simply requesting that their participation not include the following elements: uniform, weapons, and vehicles.”