Pride Toronto has just announced that pending an application, Toronto police officers will be allowed to march in the parade in uniform once again after visible police presence was banned from the event in 2017 and 2018.
For the past two years, uniformed police officers were banned from marching in the parade because of tensions between the police force and the queer community.
This past year in April, Pride Toronto urged the Toronto Police to withdraw their application to walk in the 2018 parade because of the queer community’s trauma after the way the police handled the Bruce McArthur investigation.
Joint public statement about police participation in Pride Toronto's 2018 parade. Signed by The 519, Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, Sherbourne Health Centre, ASAAP, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) and Pride Toronto. #prideto pic.twitter.com/oG5XFyaD5B
— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) April 3, 2018
The organization that puts on events to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community put out a written statement today that explained if Toronto police apply to be a part of the parade in 2019, the application will be reviewed the same way any other organization’s would, and they will be allowed entry.
“2017’s Pride Parade was the first year since 2000 that the Toronto Police had not marched in uniform,” the statement reads. “It was a complex decision that sparked an even more complex conversation about inclusion, representation, race, social justice, and safety.”
According to the statement, Pride Toronto chose to allow Toronto Police to apply in 2019 because they feel that the absence of the police force for two years has allowed for “critical conversations,” but they understand that not everyone will embrace the decision.
“For many members of our communities, this decision will feel premature; we may not all see the same signs of a mending relationship,” the organization said. “Indeed, some of the change is subtle and some just getting underway. We are heartened that the seeds are being planted, but we acknowledge and respect those who will find this decision a difficult one.”