Protesters from activist group Black Lives Matter disrupted Toronto Pride over the weekend, grinding the parade to a halt.
Recent events in Toronto have revealed just how much division there is within our own community. The targeting of Toronto Pride by BLM during a time when we should be coming together to show solidarity is a symptom of a wider racism problem within the GLBTIQ community.
As a Gay Eurasian man I have experienced what it means to be part of group which lives with discrimination every day and although I have never had my life threatened myself I know what it feels like to be part of a minority that is under constant threat of violence. I have watched members of my community everyday being called sick and depraved, seen them beaten, thrown from buildings and massacred in nightclubs and cafes.
Orlando for me was horrible, I cried for days it didn’t matter to me who in that club was Black, White, Latino, Male or Female, GLBTI or Q. I mourned because it was an attack on our entire community.
Black lives matter! There’s no denying it and whats happening in America breaks my heart. Pride is about standing as one and saying we are here, we are undefeated and we are stronger together.
Yes they Pooped on our party but before we start laying blame we as a community need to do some soul searching. Why did these members of our community feel marginalised and voiceless enough that disrupting Pride was the only way they could be heard? This is the question we need to answer if we are to really address the racism in our own backyard.
Racism within the Gay community is real. I have experienced it every day in clubs, on Grindr and in the Gay Media. BLM protesting at Pride is not the problem, it is the solution they found to the real disease which is the indifference some sectors of our community show towards dealing with the inequality within our community. You may not agree with their methods, I don’t think anybody can claim a monopoly on grief but we can empathise with them.
Constable Chuck Krangle made a good point when he said exclusion does not foster inclusion. Banning Police floats from Pride and banning officers from marching in uniform feels like a response blinded by anger, it’s profiling an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, sound familiar? GLBTIQ officers are more important now than ever. They are a direct connection to Law enforcement which will help create more informed, tolerant and diverse Police forces. Their struggles and stories make all of us stronger and they should be honoured for the work they do.
Pride is about showing that kid on the street that there is love out there for him. Pride is about showing that kid on the street that he can be anything he wants to be. Visibility matters though and until we include everyone in our community the struggle will not end.