Pride has always been political. Before it ever became a corporate communal beast. The Toronto City Police publicly apologized for the events during the early 1980’s, after the Bathhouse Raids that still holds the largest mass incarceration, of any group of people in Canada. That group happened to be LGBTQ folks.
One Black Lives Matter’s platforms is to hold police and authorities accountable for their actions and to eliminate the racial prejudice that occurs when policing marginalized bodies. People of colour and Indigenous people have some of the highest rates of incarceration and police violence. That still continues in many communities, especially in Toronto, where black people and other people of colour are “carded” on the street, randomly on the street, usually for doing nothing illegal and are harassed if they don’t follow these unjust requests from Police Officers.
Search Desmond Cole’s media outlets for additional information, when it comes to racism and police authorities. He’s really good at explaining this movement to a large audience.
I support Black Lives Matter, because sometimes when it comes to advocacy you need to disrupt society to get other voices to be heard. This is familiar with the INAC Occupation, the Occupy Movement, Idle No More, the American Indian Movement, and even Pride.
During the Stonewall Inn riots in New York in 1969, police were making raids on different gay establishments (bathhouses and bars) and arrested folks, incarcerated them and many times published their names in the media. This out ed a lot of people, and caused a lot of folks to lose their jobs, their families and sometimes their lives.
After the police raided the Stonewall Inn, and began resting staff, folks began revolting and started throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at the police. They retreated to the bar and locked themselves in there. Folks began calling their friends and running up the streets saying that “the gays were rioting in the village.” These night riots lasted for about six* evenings. And the a lot of those folks on the front line were people of colour, drag queens, street youth and transgender folks.
But after the Stonewall Inn, many folks who were becoming organized in different LGBT rights and equity groups, the majority of folks who benefited from positions of power were white, cisgenderd, gay, males. This forced out lesbians, trans, and queer people of colour from having a say or proper consulting on their needs within the queer community.
These are all reasons why I support the Black Lives Matter movement and the BLMTO sit in at Pride. They stopped an entire parade to get their voices and their action items approved by the Pride ED. He signed their papers, and backtracked on his words, just so the parade could keep going.
Was it disruptive: Yes. Did it inconvenience a lot of folks: Of Course. Where they able to get their message across: Absolutely. There still needs to be a lot of work to occur with the police department and their treatment of people of colour, queer folks and queer people of colour. I should also mention that a lot of the organizers of BLMTO are also identify as being LGBTQ.
*I edited this piece, after passionately writing it, in conversation with a friend.