Since Black Lives Matter Toronto's sit-in during Pride 2016, many of you have shown woeful levels of misunderstanding of where our community as a whole sits with the police. I've heard several of you say that the police don't pose a threat to LGBT people, because we've made "progress." "The bathhouse raids were 35 years ago. Everything is fine now between LGBT people and the police!" is how the argument goes, as if conflict between police and LGBT people is a thing of the past. What you mean to say is that your battle for your rights (which did not include an agenda for LGBT people of colour) was already hard fought decades ago.
For 30 minutes they held up a parade born from the outrage over the ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, abuse and hate LGBTQ people have experienced for being who they were born to be. If we learned anything at all, it should be that we remain silent as they speak, compassionate as they cry and outraged as they share.
For as long as I can remember, being black and gay was like the biggest crime one could commit in my community. It didn't matter where you were born, the culture was one that saw black churches openly bashing homosexuality and parents disowning their children, leaving them on the streets to survive however they could. Fast forward to 2016, and the black LGBTQ community is growing by the minute and more and more black gay men and women are embracing who they are without apology. Here's what pride means to us.
Another Canada Day, another successful Pride Parade along the streets of downtown Toronto. As in previous years one of the largest parades of its kind saw hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets. The Parade itself covers less than a mile or two of Toronto's streets but the geography is far less important than the message it sends. It was only 30 years ago this February that Toronto Police raided the city's gay bathhouses, arresting more than 300 innocent men.
For a man who declared upon his election that "Toronto is now open for business" -- Pride, with its plethora of corporate donors, is one of the few events that does just that -- opens our city's doors for businesses and tourists alike. After all -- did we not elect Rob Ford because of his supposed knowledge of fiscal responsibility?