Black Lives Matter shuts down Toronto LGBT Pride: Demands cops be kicked out of parade, wins

Black Lives Matter protesters brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “Surrender Dorothy” this weekend when they shut down the Toronto LGBT Pride parade with smoke flares and a sit-in.

BLM held Toronto Pride hostage, unless their demands, which included excluding police from the parade, were immediately met.

Toronto Pride ultimately relented — agreeing to, among other things, increased minority representation in Pride and kicking the cops out of future parades and festivals. (Pride parades typically have contingents of LGBT cops and firefighters, and booths set up by the local LGBT officers’ group at the accompanying street festival.) Though today we’re hearing that Pride Toronto may now be backing off its shotgun-promise to bar the police from future Pride events.

Judging by their success in forcing Toronto Pride to capitulate, I suspect we’ll see Black Lives Matter groups protesting more Pride parades in the future. And as a longtime national and international LGBT rights activist, I have a problem with that.

In a nutshell: Fred Phelps protests Pride parades. Our friends don’t.

Civil rights allies don’t target each other

Civil rights allies don’t shut each other down on their most important day of the year. And civil rights allies don’t hold each other hostage, treating each other like the enemy. In fact, Black Lives Matter — which is not an LGBT group — was previously invited to help lead the Toronto Pride Parade, and even had an honorary contingent in the parade, which BLM then used to shut down the entire event.

As President Obama noted a month or so ago, it’s one thing to be angry, it’s another to channel your anger effectively. Occupy Wall Street, for example, had been quite good at anger. They were less good at channeling that anger into positive change.

Dogging progressive allies is a waste of resources, and counterproductive. It gets you less bang for the buck than targeting actual racists, and it also ticks allies off, which does nothing to advance your cause. For example, Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination. So BLM targets Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And the Republicans are two weeks away from a convention where they will nominate a racist xenophobe. So BLM targets the gays. Priorities, people, priorities.

Demanding a cut back on cops following Orlando is supremely bad timing

And let’s say a word about BLM’s supremely poor timing.

Three weeks after the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, when on that same day a well-armed man was arrested on his way to LGBT Pride in West Hollywood, the LGBT movement is on pins and needles over concerns about another possible attack. We’re getting frisk-searched upon entering Pride parties (as I was upon entering the Buzzfeed party in NYC), and the police are forced to station counterterrorism units to defend our bars (as they did at the Stonewall Inn the week after Orlando) and our meeting places (I also ran in the counterterrorism police outside New York’s LGBT community center).

With all of that, Black Lives Matter thought it would be a good idea to sow chaos by throwing pyrotechnics in the middle of the most important LGBT event of the year. It’s not only the worst time to be demanding fewer cops, it’s also the worst way — by in essence simulating an explosion. Talk about your trigger warnings.

BLM also pulled out of San Francisco Pride last week as a protest against increased security following Orlando. BLM wanted less security in the wake of Orlando, for the same “comfort” reason as above.

You’ll note that, other than the ban on cops, the rest of BLM’s Toronto demands appear relatively reasonable. So why the need to hold Pride hostage?

The list of demands from the Black Lives Matter activists who shut down Toronto's Pride parade.

The list of demands from the Black Lives Matter activists who shut down Toronto’s Pride parade.

Taking cops out of the parade does nothing to make attendees feel more “comfortable”

One of the reasons Black Lives Matters forced Toronto Pride to no longer permit police floats, contingents, or booths at future Pride events, is because BLM claims the police presence makes some people of color “uncomfortable.” Perhaps, but the lack of a police presence, post-Orlando, makes a lot of other people uncomfortable. Not to mention, how is removing a few floats and booths going to make things more “comfortable” for people of color, when the entire Parade is now defended like the White House? The cops are still there, just less flamboyant than they’d be in a float contingent or a festival booth. So how does this help anyone feel more comfortable? It doesn’t.

NYPD counterterrorism police stand guard outside the Stonewall Inn in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood, the day after the Orlando attack.

NYPD counterterrorism police stand guard outside the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, the day after the Orlando attack.

I led a rather high-profile, and effective, campaign against malfeasance in the DC police department back in 2002 or so. I am hardly “soft on cops.” But I still recognize the important and dangerous work the police do. I appreciate them showing up, in force, at our bars and our protests and our Pride events to help ensure that another lunatic doesn’t pump several hundreds rounds into me and my best friends. I also appreciate cops participating in our parades and at our festivals. It sends a great message to LGBT kids, and adults to boot, that even the police think we’re okay. Let’s face it, the homophobes would like nothing better than to have the cops pull their visible support of Pride.

Cops are LGBT too

There’s another thing the BLM protesters are forgetting: Cops are LGBT too. Are LGBT police officers, and LGBT police organizations, also not permitted to march in Pride parades and have booths at Pride events? For example, what of the NYPD’S LGBT group, the “Gay Officers Action League.” GOAL had to sue the NYPD, all the way back in 1996 (before it was cool), in order to get be officially recognized and treated like every other police group. Is GOAL now a bad guy too? And beyond GOAL, the NYPD is itself now doing LGBT sensitivity trainings for other police forces, has trans-friendly bathrooms, and has openly-transgender cops who have transitioned on the job. Should none of that be recognized and lauded?

How exactly do we decide who’s a good gay cop and a bad gay cop?

I fear that what BLM is doing is indicative of a larger problem on the left of late. Progressives are increasingly suspicious of each other; and every lefty sees every other lefty as the enemy, when in the past we used to target, you know, real enemies. Thus, rather than targeting the Republicans, BLM targets Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the entire LGBT community.

In the past, the LGBT movement has also targeted Democratic allies. But we did it for strategic reasons, when those Democrats stopped allying themselves with us. We heckled President Obama and chained ourselves to the White House fence because we felt the President was going soft on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and we wanted to make inaction too costly. Our protests worked. We got the President’s attention, and in the end, he became the fierce advocate he’d promised us all along.

But what is BLM actually accomplishing by getting the police thrown out of Pride parades. And just as importantly, what do they gain by shutting down a sister civil rights movement? We never once shut down a fellow civil rights movement. I can only imagine how “uncomfortable” BLM supporters would be if LGBT activists appropriated their biggest day of the year (MLK’s birthday?) to focus attention on, say, homophobia in the black community.

I’ll close with an extended comment left on the Huffington Post story about Toronto:

Yes, let’s exclude police floats so LGBTQ officers and LGBTQ POC officers and POC officers who are allies can feel excluded and shamed for their choice of profession and their sexuality/skin color all at once.

Those people exist too, you know. And they were there, and many were affected by the choice of these so-called activists.

The bulk of their demands are fair and should have been in discussion long before the parade even started or before they agreed to be the honored guests. Given part of the reason of Pride is INCLUSIVITY, not EXCLUSION, many of their demands likely could’ve been met with organizers prior to Pride, even months before, where the result of their demands could have been put in place for this Pride.

But instead it’s better to be a news headline and to continue the act of excluding people rather than working to find middle ground amongst differences. The police are an integral part of the parade, moreso than the donors who pay for floats to simultaneously pedal their product or company while touting how into equality they are. The police are the ones who try to make the event as safe as possible, set up the barricades for the marches and parade, close streets and implement safety plans for the public in the event of an emergency. In the wake of Orlando, their presence is important. I was at Toronto Pride and spoke with many officers who were not only helpful in giving directions and assisting citizens but also who were there to jointly celebrate as officers and as part of the LGBTQ community.

Instead of excluding their float, we should be encouraging more conversation between parties to find unity and progress. Progress will never come to fruition with acts of exclusivity. We must recognize the past and the acts of those who have harmed all minorities while recognizing the progress that we have made and the progress that we can continue to make through positive activism. Please stop supporting the alienation of allies and minorities who overlap into those groups that many so-called “activists” try to exclude.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis — Win a pony! (not really)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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86 Responses to “Black Lives Matter shuts down Toronto LGBT Pride: Demands cops be kicked out of parade, wins”

  1. Jacquelope says:

    On behalf of Black Lives Matter I apologize for these hooligans who disrupted your Pride event. LGBTQ have always been on the side of civil rights and this poisonous behavior has no place within the BLM cause. I call on more BLM supporters to denounce these pointless disruptions.

  2. Bookbinder says:

    Fuck these BLM bigots. Back in the days when I was out there on the streets protesting for black civil rights, MLK and his aids were more intelligent, strategic and way better organized than these bums.

  3. johnitis says:

    “Cops are LGBT, too,” but black men and women aren’t.

  4. johnitis says:

    This is really pitiful because had the police not been an enemy attacking lgbt people of color, there wouldn’t even be a pride. And here we have a white male shedding tears and telling a group of black people – many of whom are lgbt – that they are intruding upon the rights of gay cops (cop outs) to participate in a parade, and are hurting his white to take ecstasy and dance like nothing is actually happening to other “family” members. Would you have cried when ActUp! shut down practically everything?

    Also, your continued invoking of Orlando is disingenuous when you consider that the victims were people of color, as well. Stop providing fodder for racists and try listening.

  5. d3clark says:

    This should be the last time the group BLM gets invited to any Pride anywhere.

  6. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Your friend makes excellent points. The Baton Rouge and St. Paul deaths are very upsetting. They’re enough to make one sick, but the police will request a jury trial, because they know the jury will probably let them off. We need to stop and think about which minority the police will go after next.

  7. Moonbeam_Song says:

    Thank you — there’s absolutely a LOT more to the story, a lot more behind the event and the choices made by BLM, than has been presented here. There are also a lot of LGBTQ members OF the BLM and who support their actions, and their perspective and experience should not be overlooked or dismissed.

    It’s often difficult to confront the fact that maybe your gut reactions might be wrong, or that your opinion wasn’t formed with all of the facts, or that perhaps some unconscious biases may be affecting you in ways you don’t even consciously recognize. That’s why these conversations can be difficult but it’s also why it’s important to have them.

  8. heimaey says:

    Moonbeam Song –

    So in the past two days two black men (at least) have been killed by the police for absolutely no reason and they are worried about some protestors interfering with our parades?

    From my friend Michael, a Toronto residence’s FB page:

    “Things I’ve learned in the past 3 days post Pride in Toronto: 1. White supremacy is alive and well (and when people show you their true colours, believe them). 2. How quickly we forget that Pride began as a protest and that protests, sit-ins and disruption by AIDS activists in the 80’s and 90’s saved millions of lives (especially in our community). 3. This is not about disrupting a parade. It’s about using the parade as a platform to advance an important message, giving voice to the voiceless and improving and saving lives. Oh and by the way, it’s already working. 4. Sometimes it’s best just to listen. 5. It’s not our community vs. their community or one minority group vs. another. These are individuals who are already part of our community. 6. Empathy is everything.”

    All of you who think BLM was wrong – watch the video and tell me if you can’t understand where BLM is coming from:

  9. heimaey says:

    So in the past two days two black men (at least) have been killed by the police for absolutely no reason and we are worried about some protestors interfering with our parades?

    From my friend Michael, a Toronto residence’s FB page:

    “Things I’ve learned in the past 3 days post Pride in Toronto: 1. White supremacy is alive and well (and when people show you their true colours, believe them). 2. How quickly we forget that Pride began as a protest and that protests, sit-ins and disruption by AIDS activists in the 80’s and 90’s saved millions of lives (especially in our community). 3. This is not about disrupting a parade. It’s about using the parade as a platform to advance an important message, giving voice to the voiceless and improving and saving lives. Oh and by the way, it’s already working. 4. Sometimes it’s best just to listen. 5. It’s not our community vs. their community or one minority group vs. another. These are individuals who are already part of our community. 6. Empathy is everything.”

    Watch the video and tell me if you can’t understand where BLM is coming from:

  10. Moderator3 says:

    Bye bye.

  11. Moonbeam_Song says:

    Oooh, a swing and a miss. And you were doing so well before this. Really. But… keep up the ad hominem, at least that’s consistent.

  12. Moonbeam_Song says:

    Interesting, given that I personally didn’t say anything about law enforcement in my comments. But do continue. Ad hominem AND straw men? It’s a delicious throwback to my old days on Usenet. You’re making me feel all nostalgic.

  13. crazymonkeylady says:

    Maybe that is why BLM did that. To get the PM’s attention.

  14. mostlyharmless25 says:

    Also, the fact that you view the very existence of law enforcement as a racist conspiracy shows that any discussion with you would be a waste of time.
    There is a reason people are pissed about this. And it’s not because they hate black people.

  15. quax says:

    Maybe only allowing black self-identified female LGBTQ police officers as a compromise?

    Yes, this is tongue in cheek. But if there’s any city in the world where you could get enough people who’d fall into this category to man an entire police platoon, it would probably be Toronto. Love my city.

    BTW it should be mentioned that this Pride Parade was for the first time attended by a sitting Canadian PM (Trudeau has attended several times before he was elected PM so this is not just pandering).

    He had a gay Syrian refugee by his side. Love my country (and technically I am not even Canadian yet).

  16. mostlyharmless25 says:

    It’s cute that you just learned the phrase ad hominem and are trying to use it in conversation. Really endearing.

  17. Moonbeam_Song says:

    Please do. It’s really fascinating. The way you weave ad hominem attacks into other ad hominem attacks and manage to dodge actual issues, it’s masterful.

    Your opinion of my intellect really means so much to me. As does your opinion of yourself.

  18. Marcus Adams says:

    I’m so saddened by the fact that I live in a world where you have to check each others skin tone before you can have a conversation.

  19. Moderator3 says:

    This is not a blog about spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

  20. throwblow says:

    Intersectionality and late stage progressivism. If I had a nickel for every time someone was called racist for pointing out the dangerous path identity politics has been on…

  21. mostlyharmless25 says:

    No. The only thing I’m trying to convey is that I think you are an idiot.
    If the standard of “good writing” represents using words correctly so that what I write doesn’t sound like some uneducated preacher trying to convince other dumb people that they are smart…then that standard I am a good writer.
    I’ll happily go into more detail if you’d like.

  22. Moonbeam_Song says:

    John, disagreeing with your opinion isn’t the same as saying you aren’t entitled to your opinion. Pointing out some things you are leaving out in your consideration is also not saying you aren’t entitled to your opinion.

    You’ve repeatedly tried to suggest that, falsely, and it certainly isn’t doing your rebuttal any favors to indicate that the only proper response to your opinion is to agree with it completely and wholeheartedly.

  23. Moonbeam_Song says:

    “No one anywhere cares what you think about anything.” (1) That’s rather true of 99.9% of what’s written in comments, though, don’t you think? (2) You clearly care enough to keep responding.

    And… you offer more ad hominem. I suppose making personal attacks is “good writing”?

  24. Well. Yes, a pro-gay group did a ‘study’ that ‘disproved’ this. I never did understand why folks on the far-left are so offended by electoral facts. It’s not offensive to report how a community voted. And in this case, it seems that they’re also implicitly claiming that the black community doesn’t have a particular and unique problem with homophobia. It does. And the only way it will ever be resolved is if we admit it. I would posit that the “it was disproven” is an oft-repeated meme. And interestingly, it was oft-repeated before they even came up with the “evidence.”

  25. It was only temporary because the hostages gave in. The intent was to shut it down. And perhaps we should leave the condescension about this being “just a parade” behind. This was Pride. Pride is more than “just a parade.” It’s the one time each year that we publicly proclaim who we are, without fear, and with pride. You’re also conveniently leaving out the smoke grenades three weeks after a deadly terror attack against this same community. I have empathy. And I have and will continue to try to understand. But that doesn’t mean I’ll sit back and stfu. I’m sorry, but this is standard far-left dogma, the notion that no one is entitled to their own opinion unless they’re the most diverse person in the room. Those are accepted rules where you come from. They’re not accepted or acceptable anywhere else.

  26. mostlyharmless25 says:

    Wow you write poorly. Usually a sign of someone insecure about their education and or lack of intelligence. In this case it’s both I’d assume.
    Again, no one anywhere cares what you think about anything.

  27. Moonbeam_Song says:

    I am quite aware of the definition of unprecedented and used it carefully and precisely. That you disagree with my opinion on the quality of the violence against the black community in this country doesn’t in any way indicate I’m being dishonest. And if you want to argue that the violence against the black community is awful but not “unprecedented”, we could certainly discuss alternate ways to describe it.

    But ad hominem attacks are, of course, a common internet tactic when one can’t rebut the arguments raised.

  28. Max_1 says:

    No thinking off the reservation…
    What? How dare we consider someone else’s plight?
    We have our own misery to celebrate, so drink!

  29. mostlyharmless25 says:

    I don’t think you know what the word unprecedented means.
    You have no idea what anyone here thinks, and your argument at its core is extremely intellectually dishonest.
    There is nothing else really to say to you.

  30. pablo says:

    Thanks for covering this John. It appears that neither Towleroad, nor Joemygod will touch this story.

  31. Jason Rosselot says:

    I would show them just as much support as they show us… & this kind of crap is unacceptable from any group to disrupt an event which includes gay police. I say ban them from participation in pride and haul them off to jail if they do it again, you let them do it once and they will continue to do it, just because your gay doesn’t mean you have to sit back and be a passivist!

  32. Moonbeam_Song says:

    That’s a myth, scapegoating the black community to that extent isn’t an accurate statement. It’s an oft-repeated meme but it’s an exaggeration.

  33. Moonbeam_Song says:

    More convenient rationalization and digging your heels in, little to no example of any kind of empathy or understanding of why they feel this is the right option.

    A parade was halted, temporarily, and that deserves THIS much of your blog and your time? And you continue to feel like your opinion of their actions is better than theirs?

    That really doesn’t sound like much of an ally to me.

  34. Moonbeam_Song says:

    Interesting. It’s okay to challenge people who are struggling with unprecedented amounts of violence and murder, with little to no action from their allies… but temporarily stopping a parade is worthy of all this invective and finger-pointing.

    They have to do all the soul-searching, you don’t have to do any?

    Convenient. And what a classic example of privilege.

  35. 424462237 says:


  36. craigbear says:

    Just to be clear, BLM’s Toronto chapter is led by queer and trans women, and has included LGBTQ issues in its other actions. I’m not defending what they did at Pride, trust me, but at least locally they are an LGBT-led and LGBT-inclusive group and their inclusion in Pride wasn’t out of left field.

  37. BrianSheller says:

    Irresponsible, cowardly, misdirected disruptive behavior from BLM flag-wavers.

    Who’d have thought?

  38. c.Hale says:

    It is so much easier to be a professional victim than it is to be employed.

  39. Yep. It was irresponsible, IMHO. The moment someone said “hey, let’s throw smoke grenades in the middle of the parade,” someone, anyone, should have said “are you freaking mad?” That alone shows a serious lack of maturity, imho.

  40. Bingo. That’s my problem as well. Usually on the left when someone says “but have you really listened?”, it means “why didn’t you STFU and let someone else roll all over you, unchallenged?” One side is expected to listen, the other is not. And the very definition of “listening,” tends to mean “do not under any circumstances defend yourself, your position, say or do anything that does not enable the other guy.”

    Even if you’re my ally, sometimes you’re gonna be wrong. And a good ally, like a good friend, let’s you know when you are.

    And your last sentence kind of proves my point:

    “Instead of working hard to let ourselves off the hook, which simply reinforces the status quo — which is what I’m really uncomfortable about here.”

    You didn’t ask us to listen, you asked us to concede. The very fact that the other guys complained about something, makes them right in your view. I reject that line of thinking.

  41. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    That’s a good point. The references to stages completely alluded me. I’ll blame it on the fact that it was the middle of the night out here. Of course, I would probably do it again in bright sunlight. I have felt that the BLM has ignored the Latino community, so the list of their demands alleviates that a bit.

    I cannot agree with all their demands. Taking police floats out of the parade and booths out of Pride is an act of prejudice.

  42. mostlyharmless25 says:

    Your idea of listening seems to be to tell people they have no right to an opinion, and that anyone who disagrees with you is incorrect.

    “maybe it’s because we’ve given them no other choice”
    What a load of hyperbolic garbage.

  43. TampaZeke says:

    How shameful that a group is invited to be an honored guest at a Gay Pride event and then they behave like this.

    Do they really think that this is the way to win hearts and minds and victories, by shitting on allies?

  44. emjayay says:

    I get the criticism of both institutions, but I never would question other people’s judgments about them. Besides, criticisms of marriage aren’t about your relationship, which one defines for oneself. Anyway, institutional discrimination was the issue with both, and we got it fixed, mostly.

  45. Moonbeam_Song says:

    Ultimately, though, did you really listen? It just seems to me you’ve posted a lot of rationalization and justification for why you think they’re wrong, without any indication that you did any listening. Regardless of your intentions, you were indeed nothing more than another white man telling a black protest “how to behave”.

    Really think about that, John, and try to set aside *everything else* and really try to figure out how that looks and sounds.

    Because it’s not like there haven’t been black leaders reaching out “appropriately” all along… and where, exactly, did that get them?

    If someone who is a friend comes at me, angry at my lack of support, I can either do what you’ve done — dig in my heels, come up with rationalizations as to why my friend is in the wrong, not really consider my own actions at all — or I can reflect to see if my friend maybe has a point, and maybe this was the only way to get my attention.

    If our allies are acting this forcefully, maybe, just maybe, we ought to consider it’s because we’ve given them no other choice.

    Instead of working hard to let ourselves off the hook, which simply reinforces the status quo.

  46. UncleBucky says:

    BLM ain’t winning any friends except ‘phobes and those who use LGBT people as supporters and/or victims.

  47. Gigi says:

    One of their demands was that Pride reinstate a stage that represents the South Asian community.

  48. Gigi says:

    They didn’t “allow” BLM to shut it down. They shut it down and the Pride chair, Mathieu Charlebois, had to get things moving again as quickly as possible. The PM was behind the BLM float. It was a difficult situation.

  49. rmthunter says:

    Pride Toronto is saying they only signed off the get the parade moving again, and are in “discussions” with BLM and the police about BLM’s “demands.”

  50. rmthunter says:

    I’m remembering a number of years ago when then-mayor Richard M. Daley (son of the notorious Richard J.) wouldn’t participate in the Parade because it was on Sunday and Sunday was his “family” day. He got a lot of crap for that.

    Our current mayor participates there, along with every Chicago politician of note, and has since he took office.

    And yes, there are police marching, and have been for years.

    (I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if BLM had pulled that kind of stunt here — smoke bombs? After a massacre of LGBTs? With a crowd of a million people?)

  51. heimaey says:

    I don’t know what the answer is and as a white man, I’m not sure I can give an unbiased, or even a very useful perspective, but we all are entitled to our opinions. I think that white gays have marginalized black gays in many areas of life and this is another fight back. So who am I to say what it feels like to be black and gay in this society and what they must do to fight racism and prejudice? I see racism from my white peers all the time and they don’t even realize they’re doing it so I would question as to whether or not they view these people as even on their side, necessarily.

  52. rmthunter says:

    If your enemy is the police, then protest the police, not a group that has been equally victimized by them. In Chicago, years ago, we protested at the Town Hall police station — the precinct covering Boys’ Town, notorious for harassing gays — and got some attention from the mayor. (It helped that the mayor realized we were a voting bloc.) We didn’t go down to the South Side and stage sit-ins in the black neighborhoods.

    And the demand to exclude the police — including LGBT officers — from future parades is equally self-defeating. When there’s been progress, you don’t turn around and spit on the people who are on your side.

  53. rmthunter says:

    Her remarks are cast in the same mold as anything you’re going to hear from the right-wing “Christian martyrs.”

  54. We had the same thing with repealing DADT. A contingent didn’t believe we should serve in the military anyway. Same goes with marriage — why repeal DOMA when marriage is a heterosexual institution, blah blah.

  55. Not taking away any space? They shut down the entire Pride parade, our most sacred event of the year, our ultimate safe space.

  56. I was going to include a pre-emptive line in the story, to rebut this very argument. Let me add it here. I may not be qualified to opine about black civil rights — but if that’s the case, then no white person will ever write about African-American civil rights again, pro or con, and that sounds counterproductive to me. But putting that aside, I am however eminently qualified to weigh in about LGBT civil rights. And this was an attack on an LGBT Pride parade, and that’s a topic I do own, and have every right to weigh in on.

    As for strategic protests of Dems, they sure were. The ones I was involved in, with Get Equal, and also simply using my blog, sure were. And they worked. Others may not have been, and they may have deserved the tut-tutting they received. Sometimes tut-tutting is well deserved.

    As for “listening,” that kind of reminds me of the NRA argument about how we can’t weigh in about mass shootings immediately after the shooting, with the effect being we can never weigh in because there’s always another shooting. Just how long do we have to “listen” to people criticizing us before we can defend ourselves?

  57. emjayay says:

    My guess is that at least the more hard core BLMers think it is wrong for any black person to be a member of the fascist establishment corporate racist supremacist enforcer police.

  58. emjayay says:

    I am once again reminded of that social studies teacher in the 9th grade (?) who drew the line on the board illustrating political positions from the left to the right, introducing us to the leftright concept. He said something about the extremes at each end having things in common. Maybe you got some similar explanation somewhere along the way.

  59. Moonbeam_Song says:

    I dunno. It seems supremely arrogant for a non-black person to suggest that there’s a “right” way to react to the systemic, societally-sanctioned, disproportionate abuse, harassment, and murder of black youths. This reaction also glosses over the fact that part of the reason BLM protests their supposed allies is because those allies have done darned little to help, or even acknowledge the problem. They are angry with us because, frankly, they have a right to be angry with us.

    And I’d also disagree that it was always “strategic” when gay rights protestors got in the face of so-called allies. That wasn’t consistently the case, and there has been plenty of “tut-tutting” from Democrats and progressives over some gay protests in the last few decades.

    Perhaps instead of telling them where they are wrong, now is the right time to just listen? The real problem with the various groups on the left seems to be too much talking at each other, and not enough listening to each other.

  60. heimaey says:

    I think that these tactics are harsh, and perhaps even seen as counter-productive by many liberals, but they bring light to the sensitive and very real problems of systemic racism, particularly in the police department. Our country (and most Western democracies) were founded on protests such as this. I have a hard time believing many in the early days of ACT UP would have had an issue with this had the police often been the culprits not the drug companies, etc.

  61. rmthunter says:

    If I were Pride Toronto, I’d just take the position that promises made under duress are not binding and tell BLM to go f— themselves.

    I agree with this post completely: if you’re going to pull this kind of crap on people who should be your allies, don’t count on them remaining allies. And who wants to be allied with a group run by a bunch of idiots?

  62. rmthunter says:

    Got it. This is nothing more than the tactics of the New Left. It’s also the tactics of spoiled children.

  63. Good Without God says:

    FUCK BLM. They are a racist hate group. #AllLivesMatter

  64. Mary Dix says:


  65. Phil in FLL says:

    It benefits any minority community when they are represented as members of local police forces. It’s safe to conclude that BLM doesn’t disapprove of black police officers being part of local police forces. When BLM tries to discourage the presence or acknowledgment of gay police officers (or those who are not black), that is not just a double standard–it is plain homophobia. That’s particularly obvious in light of the mass shooting in Orlando.

    By way of comparison, gay activists would be sinking to the level of the BLM disruption at the Toronto Pride Parade if they disrupted BLM events with smoke flares and sit-ins until BLM repudiated anti-gay black pastors, like the one in Harlem who regularly incites violence against gay people., It’s different when the shoe is on the other foot, isn’t it? I’m allergic to double standards, so are the BLM folks in Toronto willing to reimburse me for a package of Claritin? Achoo!

  66. 784989933 says:


  67. Stanley_Krute says:

    BLM is, frankly, deeply dumb about both strategies and tactics.

    And ‘deep’ is an understatement. MLK sighs.

  68. ilCorago says:

    I absolutely agree with you. Allies need to treat each other with respect. As for the police, no matter what police/LGBT relations have been in the past, there’s something called progress, and I, for one, was looking forward to it.

  69. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I support the BLM movement, but they do not represent all people of color.

  70. Brian says:

    How to lose friends and create enemies.

  71. Jerry Roy says:

    The BLM movement is not supported by facts.

  72. Fireblazes says:

    I am sympathetic to their cause, but I just don’t get what they think they will gain from using these strong arm tactics.

  73. cinemaven says:

    The relationship with police is so different here than in other parts of the world because both sides have worked so hard to understand each other.
    My son (the one with the beads) is teaching in Daegu South Korea and went to this year’s Queer Culture Festival, the police were there in full riot gear. Protest groups shut it down last year. It’s funny how having the police visibly on your side with rainbows and dancing makes the protests go away…

  74. I remember going to NYC Pride, back in the early 90s. Hundreds of thousands of people, and THERE WERE POLICE EVERYWHERE ENJOYING THE PARADE. I don’t recall back then whether cops marched in the parade or not, but I most certainly remember the cops there as security, and many of them were having a wonderful time. It meant so much to me to see those cops there, whether they were security or not, treating us like we were normal, accepting us as normal. I also remember a few years ago at DC Pride, when I was talking to some of the cops and they said how it was always so amazing how Pride was the only event they worked where there were never any arrests. I felt good about that. And I’m glad those cops had that experience with my community.

  75. cinemaven says:

    I went to my first TO Pride parade a few years after it started in ’81 to support friends
    The police were there, looking uncomfortable, standing between protestors and marchers
    I noticed a huge difference in 1994 when hubby & I took our sons to pride. My youngest was 2 and an officer took some rainbow beads off to give to him. Police were dancing, laughing and wearing rainbows.

    Officers now have to sign up well in advance for Pride. It’s the plum assignment and they support the float and the gay officers who March in the parade. If you check the Toronto Police tweets you’ll see dozens of pics of joyous officers proud to be there.

    It was a long road
    Toronto Pride began from bathhouse raids and disgusting police harrassment and lack of protection.

    BLM was given honored status in the parade and were marching when they suddenly stopped at an intersection and shut it down for 1/2 an hour. The Prime Minister, Ontario Premier & Toronto mayor were all there, lots of press and families lining the route….they basically held the organizers hostage and are damn proud of it. Organizers signed but today are saying nothing can be done without agreement by committee (Oh Canada :-)

    If you look at videos, pictures…you’ll see nothing but inclusion
    It’s such a joyous day for everyone and it’s nothing to be proud of if you’re the one who marred the joy or the relationship with the police that has been worked towards for 35 years

  76. lilyhammer says:

    I really share your frustration. In my opinion,n BLM’s actions were incorrigible and indefensible. It would be terrible if the bad behavior of these people poisoned relations between these communities, which, after all, overlap.
    Also, couldn’t agree more with your last sentence.

  77. TampaZeke says:

    Interesting that Pride allowed BLM to shut them down. Perhaps gay people should shut down Black Pride parades until they agree to keep anti-gay pastors and churches from marching.

  78. Hue-Man says:

    “…police presence makes some people of color “uncomfortable.””

    Uncomfortable is the new standard. Wow, I thought I was a wimp.

    I don’t know much about the new Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders (pictured) and haven’t lived there for more than 20 years. His bio says he’s in his 32nd year with Toronto Police so he must know what’s happening within the Police force and within the broader community.

    The Canadian approach is to talk issues to death in order to arrive at a resolution of the problems. Protest is (normally) reserved for conflicts which have not been resolved, despite often lengthy negotiations. If BLM has issues with Toronto Police they have failed miserably in publicizing their grievances (of which I’m sure they have many) and how negotiations have failed. And their disrespect has made allies skeptical of their motivation.

  79. Blogvader says:

    And this, in a nutshell, is why I am no longer an activist.

    So much NeoMcCarthyism anymore.

  80. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Well gee BLM, how about those of us with brown skin? Do we not matter to you?

    I know a few gay police officers, and I think they should be offended. BLM needs to understand that ticking off allies is not a good idea.

  81. BeccaM says:

    Ya don’t build bridges by torching every last piece of lumber available. This exclusion of police is not only short-sighted, but also dangerous. Especially now. Who exactly is going to provide security for these parades now? BLM?

    Remember, we’re talking Toronto police. CANADIAN police. Y’know, the ones who don’t actually have a reputation for excessive violence, racist policies, or concealing their own crimes?

    This is, unfortunately, a common happening among those on the ideological ends of the political bell-curve: The further one gets to the edge, the greater the demands for orthodoxy and ideological purity, the demands that certain groups and individuals are not to be tolerated at all.

    The implosion of the GOP right now is in large part due to their refusal to accept anything but their own radicalized positions; sadly, some on the far left are now doing the same thing. Unfortunately, hijacking other movements’ meetings, rallies and other types of events — and then kicking out the original founders in the name of an even more radical agenda — is something I and my wife both remember very well from the 1960s and 70s.

    Or to put all this another way: You never make progress if you refuse even to speak to those you feel have wronged you.

  82. Houndentenor says:

    I am certainly for a more inclusive Pride celebration, but how does disinviting the police accomplish that?

  83. Nigel says:

    Shame on you toronto pride!!

  84. lilyhammer says:

    I question the wisdom of putting so much energy into confronting allies who would likely be willing to work with BLM on resolving any issues BLM has with them. This smacks of purity politics. It’s divisive and unproductive and I’m sorry to see it. Pride Toronto shouldn’t have given in.

  85. Jimmy says:

    I get what BLM is trying to do, as much as an aging white man can, but this seems the wrong way to accomplish that. Can you stand for equality while also excluding people simply because of where they work? Pride Toronto did the wrong thing in acquiescing to BLM in this instance. It would have been better had they cancelled the parade with a strong statement about inclusion for all, not just for specific groups.

  86. Terry Brady says:

    BLM is way out of line! In fact given the incredible hostility exhibited by the black community towards the LGBT community over the years I would suggest they have no moral authority dictating who may participate in pride events. (For example in 2008 in California where B.Obama won 60 % of the popular vote seven in 10 African Americans who went to the polls voted yes on Proposition 8, the ballot measure overruling a state Supreme Court judgment that legalized same-sex marriage ) The parade organizers in Toronto should be ashamed for capitulating so quickly to the demands of BLM. Gay police, firefighters and other public servants should not have to feel like they are pariahs in our community. They should be welcomed in all future events.

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