– By the Toronto Police
As a Police officer, it is disappointing that the Toronto Police will no longer be marching in Pride, especially considering we practically invented Pride. If it wasn’t for our efforts raiding bathhouses, assaulting gay men and ruining their lives by persecuting, prosecuting and publicly shaming gay people, Pride simply wouldn’t exist.
In fact, many aspects of the gay community in Toronto are a direct result of the efforts of the Toronto Police. The vibrant neighbourhood of the Village wouldn’t exist if gay people in the mid-to-late twentieth century felt as safe as other Torontonians. That level of insecurity doesn’t just happen, it can only exist with the hard work and dedication of a bravely hostile police force.
Of course we understand that the queer community may have trouble being appropriately grateful to the Toronto Police Services. I mean, most of the kids marching today probably don’t even know that Pride arose as a way to show our officers that we couldn’t literally drive gay men out of Toronto.
But marching in Pride was a way for the queer community to honour the Toronto Police for all our wonderful contributions. Traditionally, when marching in parades, police wear their dress uniforms and are accompanied by a pipe band to honour our roots ceremonially. But during Pride, sometimes we march along side police cars or wear tactical vests with loaded firearms to honour the proud history of how we treated LGTBQ people, such is our dedication.
Although we are disappointed that we will not be marching in Pride for the foreseeable future, we are very much looking forward to marching in the Black Lives Matter parade in 2032.