Magazine article New Internationalist

Reclaiming Pride

Magazine article New Internationalist

Reclaiming Pride

Article excerpt

When Black Lives Matter Toronto was asked to be the 'Honoured Group' in the 2016 Pride parade, we understood the need to turn this moment into a movement. It meant that we would be at the front of the parade. We wanted to challenge how Pride in Toronto, an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ people, had left behind its tradition of protest to embody the commercialized hollowness of a parade.

What began as a protest against police brutality in the early 1980s had become a parade with 17 different police floats, booths for police recruitment and an increasing police presence on the street. The celebratory aspect conflicted with the very real criminalization of and police brutality against queer and trans people of colour, disabled people, and sexworking communities.

From our position, with the Prime Minister's float merely one float behind us, we halted the Pride march of a million people to highlight this contradiction. We presented our demands to the Pride Toronto organizers, ranging from sign language interpretation at event stages to removing the police presence in the parade. …

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