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Pride Toronto Votes to Ban Police from Parade Participation

Wednesday Jan 18, 2017

After a heated discussion, members of Pride Toronto voted Tuesday night to ban police floats and marches from the annual LGBT event, Global News reports.

The decision comes after the Toronto chapter of the Black Lives Matter group held a sit-in last summer that halted the Pride parade for a half hour. Members of BLM asked for nine demands to be met, one of which was the banning of police at future events, according to the newspaper.

Pride Toronto members voted to endorse all of the demands, which also include more funding for Black Queer Youth, a community for black transgender women, indigenous people and others.

Global News reports the Tuesday meeting was initially supposed to focus on electing five new board members but turned into a vote on banning police.

The Toronto Sun reports the voting session seemed tumultuous with a group pushing for the members of Pride Toronto to vote on the BLM's demands.

After the vote, Pride Toronto's board co-chair Alica Hall told the newspaper the group still welcomes free police security that is offered.

Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack called the vote a "major setback" for police and LGBTQ relations, Global News reports. He also took to Twitter to express his disappointment.

Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement after the vote, saying the parade needs to foster respect for all communities.

"The Toronto Police have had a presence in the Pride parade for more than a decade and continue to make meaningful efforts to build bridges with the LGBTQ2S community," he said. "With respect to police participation in the Pride parade, I am hopeful that people of goodwill can find a way to resolve this issue and to ensure that we can continue to build those vitally important bridges."


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