As Vancouver's Pride week begins, for the first time in 10 years the city's gay refugee sponsorship group won't be marching in the annual Pride parade that's a cornerstone of events.
With just one week remaining until the massive LGBTQ parade, the Rainbow Refugee announced it would be pulling out of the offical parade on Sunday, Aug. 6 because of members who felt "unsafe" around uniformed police officers participating in the event.
"We will not be walking the parade this year," the organization's chair, Sharalyn Jordan, said in a Facebook post on the group's page Friday. "… Rainbow Refugee members deeply value that many of us are generally much safer in Vancouver and that our rights are legally protected. Some members were impressed and reassured when seeing Vancouver Police walking in Pride.
"… Other members have also expressed deep fear and mistrust of police. Police forces across Canada have not adequately addressed systemic racism, discrimination and abuse."
It's just the latest hiccup in a simmering controversy over including police departments that's divided the queer community — not only locally, but also at Pride events across Canada and the U.S.
Toronto Pride, for instance, barred police from marching as part of Canada's largest Pride parade this year, after last year's event saw LGBTQ members of Black Lives Matter Toronto stage a sit-in on the march route over the presence of police they accused of racial profiling or systemic discrimination against people of colour. Read more via Metronews