Today’s news that the Toronto Police Service has withdrawn its application to march in Pride is a welcome development. The Police relationship with the LGBTQ2S community has been strained over the last two years – most recently around the investigation of missing and murdered men in the Village and the deaths of Alloura Wells and Tess Richey. Chief Saunders has acknowledged the need to overcome the challenges before us and the decision not to march in 2018 is the best evidence I have seen to date that the force is committed to truly prioritizing that work.
LGBTQ2S officers will always be welcome at Pride as civilian members of the community. As the Police, Pride, and larger community work through the individual and systemic challenges before us, the appropriate space will open up again for the Toronto Police to be represented, as an institution and possibly in uniform, at the parade in future years. Until then, I believe the critical work to build community relationships cannot and should not be held to the deadline of a parade. Not now, not ever.