In a joint statement made with five other LGBT organizations, Pride Toronto is asking that the Toronto Police Service withdraw its application to march in the parade.
“We believe that our resources are better invested in shared efforts that focus on deeper dialogue, collaborative action, and sustained institutional change,” read the statement, which was published April 2. “Only a significant commitment and meaningful action can start the critical work of making our communities safer.”
Five other LGBT organizations — The 519 community centre, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention, the Black Coalition for AIDS Preventions, Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and the Sherbourne Health Centre — signed onto the statement.
The request comes at a time of an increasingly strained relationship between Toronto police and the city’s LGBT communities. The revelation that an alleged serial killer had been preying on gay men for years has infuriated many LGBT Torontonians. And Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders’ statements to the Globe and Mail in which he appeared to blame LGBT victims of sexual assault for not coming forward with information has led to calls for his resignation.
But even before the arrest of Bruce McArthur, Toronto police were being sharply criticized for how they handled the missing persons investigations of Alloura Wells and Tess Richey, both of whom were found dead.
“This has severely shaken our community’s already often tenuous trust in the city’s law enforcement,” read the statement. “We feel more vulnerable than ever.” Read more via DailyXtra