Black Lives Matter Shuts Down Toronto Pride Parade, Demands Police Get Kicked Out Of Parade

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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30 Responses

  1. Cassi Reynolds says:

    Not cool, the lgbt community is not your enemies nor should these demands happen. The people agreed under distress. So the agreement is invalid.

  2. Cas says:

    This is ridiculous; I’m all for representation but some of these demands just go too far. The group was invited to a parade and proceeded to act shamefully and enact a disrespectful and manipulative protest. If they had simply protested from a point that did not disturb the parade I would have no problem with it, but this was clearly orchestrated to force the parade planners’ hand and that seems absolutely detestable to me. This is not how you bring about change. This is how you give moments for those who oppose your movement to point to when they’re talking about you. This is how you turn people on your side against you. This is how you get yourselves banned from parades. And to ask for the removal of the police? What on earth did they do? There are some corrupt police so you kick them all out? This is a sick and perverse corruption of perceived power by oppression and it’s sickening. Not to mention prioritizing the hiring and presence of POC promotes some level of racism against white people few SJWs are willing to even consider may be possible. What if a more qualified white person doesn’t get the job simply because the priority was to hire POC? Is that not an issue? Should people not be hired on merit rather than skin color? They stood there and stopped an entire parade for a minority group to shout “racism” and turn what should have been a happy occasion for all involved into a one sided standoff against a nonexistent enemy. And so soon after such a dark shadow fell upon the community. Although I doubt they are, I hope they are all ashamed of themselves.

    • Ashley says:

      WELL SAID!

    • brutus2001x says:

      Are you pearls that tightly clutched? PRIDE is a protest! They protested in a protest. Take your respectability and shove it! For us to stand here and say that a group should do x or y is preposterous. We’re a minority group who bucks the norms. Isn’t it incumbent upon us to stand with those who seek to the same?

  3. mrwug says:

    cassi Reynolds, I agree. an LGBT+ pride is no place for a black-lives protest. hold your own protest, don’t ruin our time to actually, freely be ourselves. and, get rid of police at pride events? I know they’re not our greatest allies, but I’m pretty sure bigots would feel entitled to our blood if police weren’t there. maybe some thrown bottles/rubbish, screeching verbal violence worse than if police WERE there :/

  4. Beca Servoss says:

    For someone who was part of ACT-up, a group that engaged in all manner of civil disobedience and who most emphatically did NOT view the cops as allies, this is disappointing in the extreme. When the cops were harrasing LGBT people and turning a blind eye to gay bashing, were they your friends and allies? I think they were not. Maybe instead of being pissy about uppity black people ruining your parade, you remember the rage and disobedience of ACT-up and see that they are doing exactly as you did back in the day.

    • Rei B. says:

      I’m confused as to who the target of your comment was.

      Also, no matter what context, calling PoCs “uppity” isn’t exactly the best way to show support for equality, seeing as how derogatory it is..

    • Will Kohler says:

      The difference is that Act-Up protested the institions which were their enemy. Not their allies for a quick photo-op because they are too lazy and scared to go after the real bad guys. Oh and cops do still harass gay people. But not ALL COPS. Just the bad ones. There are hard working gay and lesbian police officers who work hard within the system to change it. Should they be punished because of a few bad cops?

  5. Samantha says:

    This is crazy. The police are welcome at Pride Marches. More visible policing helps to prevent attacks. It is just as we know africans here in south africa. Always demand demand demand, they want everything for nothing. If you put it up to a vote the community would rather have the police in these marches than this group. Take your ass back to africa and see how far you get with your demands there!

    • James G says:

      Wow! “They want everything for nothing” “go back to Africa” you are clearly not well versed on history, civil rights movements in Africa or Canada or within the LGBTQ community or anything else for that matter if you’re making comments like that.

      One thing you did do for the conversation is prove the point that people like you still exist.

      The LGBTQ community and POC have to deal with this type of ignorance still to this day, folks I’m not saying that stopping the parade was justified but there are still major issues that need addressing within our own LGBT community as Samantha has just proven.

      Protest has been proven to evoke change in history not just for POC, but for Unions, the LGBTQ community and more. So why is it that BLM is angry and disruptive for protesting in general.

      What we or you can do instead of spewing hatred for one another on this forum is sign the petition that’s going around to ask for a reversal of this request.

      Let’s evoke the change you want and the good news is that no parades will be stopped by you doing so!

      Great discussion.

  6. CKNJ says:

    While many of the ‘demands’ are valid and should be addressed, forcing the removal of the police from the march did nothing to engender good will towards BLM… extremism is not healthy on any side!

  7. brutus2001x says:

    The response to BLM is showing exactly why BLM needed to do what they did. I stand with them. It’s about damn time we changed the look of the LGBTQ+ community from two white dudes in sweaters with a puppy and maybe a baby.

  8. Nina says:

    It’s ironic that this piece is posted in a blog called back to Stonewall. Stonewall was a riot against police brutality, which was primarily led by people of color. Queer people of color still experience high rates of violence at the hands of the police. The organizers of Stonewall would have supported this call to get the cops out of queer safety planning. They understood that cops don’t make the most marginalized people in our communities safer, quite the opposite.

    • Will Kohler says:

      First off Stonewall wasn’t organized. Secondly it was 1969. Thirdly it was not “led primarily” by QPOC it was not “led” at all but was a spontaneous action by many. Black, white, latin, gay, straight, bi, and trans. And last but not least here’s a shocker snowflake. The world is NOT a safe place. And if your idea of making it safe is excluding anyone that has once threatened or made someone in your group feel scared then that would mean that BLM and QPOC should be excluded from any gay events because homophobia runs rampant in some sections of the black community. But that would be wrong right. Its the same thing with the police. Not all police are BAD. There are gay and lesbian police who work from within to change their system. Should they be punished?

  9. Nina says:

    Your ability to ignore very real issues of police brutality says a lot about your privilege. It doesn’t impact your life, so you ignore it, or mock the people it harms. I hope that someday you can move past your defensiveness to see that other queer people’s lives don’t look like yours, and their lives and issues matter.

    • Will Kohler says:

      My privilege? What about YOURS. The PRIVELGE and the RIGHTS that YOU have today ungrateful child I and others my age fought and won for you in the past. So please peddle your special snowflake bullshit somewhere else. I care about many issues, more than you’ll ever know or probably will because if its one thing that BLM and the Me-lennial generation proves time and time again its only about them.

    • Rhae Ward says:

      You didn’t answer the question. Should LGBT police officers be punished?

    • George says:

      The fact still remains that these BLM protesters:

      1. Went to Canada to inflict their will upon another country. Who were they to demand that police floats be removed from their event? Are there issues here in the US, hell yes there are. But disrupting and stopping an event to use it as a stage for free PR is completely disrespectful.

      2. I would love to know how many of the BLM protesters were actually part of the LGBT community. I ask, because if there weren’t any, or very few, then how is it an organization (in use that term very lightly) that has had nothing to do with this community all of a sudden impose their will. Again, disrespectful.

      • James G says:

        All but a couple of the BLM Group are :

        Canadians and very active members on different boards and organizations outside of the Black community

        University grads with Masters and above

        Members of the LGBTQ community

        They are not hooligans from the states lol one could argue that they act like it but they are all very well spoken and well versed when they are actually being heard.

        There is a lot of talk about them “imposing their will” let us not forget that blacks would still be enslaved, we would have absolutely no LGBTQ rights and Miners, labourers and fracture workers would have no workplace rights if they didn’t impose their will.

  10. Nina says:

    I’m not a child. I suspect we’re the same age, given the activism you claim to have done. It is sad that your way of handling a differing opinion is to put down whomever offers that opinion. Name calling is a charming way of handling a disagreement. It’s very mature. Thanks for showing young people how to discuss heated issues with respect.

  11. Rhae Ward says:

    You damn sure sound like a child. I’m so fucking tired of the PRIVILEGE bullshit. We are not your enemy, and after Orlando it’s good to have a police presence. I dearly hope that the leader who signed off on this bullshit ignores it for next year.

  12. Nina says:

    To clarify a few points, I’m a white, queer, woman well into my forties. I’m not a child. Addressing the fact that my beloved black queer brothers and sisters experience racism in ways I can’t even imagine, while I have privileges and benefits from that system is not bullshit. It does not make me a child. It makes me an adult willing to look at the ways this world is harmful and speak about it, even when I am part of the problem. For many people, police are the thing that makes them less safe. Saying this does not make me a special snowflake. It’s just an acknowledgment of a reality many of my community members face.
    I’m not commenting on this again. This conversation is the equivalent of beating my head against a brick wall. Your hearts are closed, and I can’t open them. Only you can. I wish you all well, but I do hope that you come to a place of being able to see the ways that racism and homophobia intersect, because we can’t dismantle one without the other changing too.

    • George says:

      So the way to handle these issues is by disrupting and putting a halt on this event? Bullying ones way to get what they want had and will never work. Look at the what has come out of this…BLM has once again become center stage for their disruptive and disrespectful behavior. Sure, a document got signed, but it has NO LEGAL substance considering one was FORCED to sign it in order to get the event back on track. Even activist based out of Canada have condemned the actions of this group. I am a gay white man MARRIED to a gay black man, and I have stood up and protested in some of the most underprivileged streets in America arm in arm with my brothers and sisters of color. One thing experience has taught me is a movement of bullies and attention seekers who use events like this to get free PR will never be taken seriously. This movement needs CLEAR and DEFINED LEADERS who know how to lead and lead by example. But ones who seek change by working WITH the communities they are trying to represent.

    • Will Kohler says:

      No our hearts aren’t closed. We understand their problem, probably much better then they understand ours. And we support them. That’s what makes their actions against the LGBT community even worse. Not liking their “action” is not racism. And it was nice how they supported us during PRIDE by making it all about them.

    • James G says:

      Amazing points 🙂

  13. It’s a shame that when the “blacktivists” decided to block traffic, that the cops marching in the parade didn’t simply arrest them. Why can’t these guys do their jobs properly?

  14. James G says:

    Wow! “ Samantha commented: They want everything for nothing” “go back to Africa” you are clearly not well versed on history, civil rights movements in Africa or Canada or within the LGBTQ community or anything else for that matter if you’re making comments like that.

    One thing you did do for the conversation is prove the point that people like you still exist.

    The LGBTQ community and POC have to deal with this type of ignorance still to this day, folks I’m not saying that stopping the parade was justified but there are still major issues that need addressing within our own LGBT community as Samantha has just proven.

    Protest has been proven to evoke change in history not just for POC, but for Unions, the LGBTQ community and more. So why is it that BLM is angry and disruptive for protesting in general.

    What we or you can do instead of spewing hatred for one another on this forum is sign the petition that’s going around to ask for a reversal of this request.

    Let’s evoke the change you want and the good news is that no parades will be stopped by you doing so!

    Great discussion.

  15. James G says:

    Someone asked earlier if the members of BLM were even from canada or members of the LGBTQ community and I wanted to respond:

    All but a couple of the BLM Group are :

    Canadians and very active members on different boards and organizations outside of the Black community (majority are Canadians)

    University grads with Masters and above

    Members of the LGBTQ community

    They are not hooligans from the states lol one could argue that they act like it but they are all very well spoken and well versed when they are actually being heard.

    There is a lot of talk about them “imposing their will” let us not forget that blacks would still be enslaved, we would have absolutely no LGBTQ rights and Miners, labourers and factory workers would have no workplace rights if they didn’t impose their will.

    I’ve been a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community for over 40 years, I’ve protested with my lesbian sisters, transfolks, POC, and have attended most protests for equal rights lol ohhhhh we’ve done some pushing in our time and I’m proud of that.

    There are still a lot of issues and they need to be addressed. Pride has always been about protest and has turned into a celebration over the years. It was always a place to highlight issues lol I’m talking back in the day.

    So If there are still issues happening in any of the communities within our communities we should inform ourselves and be in solidarity “if we agree”. If we don’t, still remember that we too had to protest and struggle and let’s at least not turn against each other.

    Ok, I’ve written enough lol I’ve got a glass of wine and a ragout calling my name

What do you think?