After Police officers were banned from marching and participating in Pride Toronto, because of an outcry from the Black Lives Matter movement., the Gay Officers Action League (Goal) has invited Toronto police officers to march, in uniform with them, during New York City’s Pride Parade and March.
Members of Pride Toronto voted to ban police uniforms, weapons and vehicles from the parade earlier this year, after protests and a hi-jacking of their Pride parade from Black Lives Matter last year.
Many in the LGBT community and the Toronto Police Association has been vocally opposed to the ban, even going so far as to ask the city to pull funding from Toronto Pride, which the city declined to do.
“This type of restriction is a step backwards for both our gay officers and the relationship Toronto Police have tried to build with the community,” president of the Toronto Police Association said.
About 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org asking for uniformed police to be allowed to march in the parade.
Toronto’s police union said it hopes many officers will be able to participate in NYC Pride.
“We are honoured that they have invited Toronto police officers to attend and march in their parade with uniforms,” said McCormack,.
Marching in uniform is an important part of any pride parade, said GOAL’s executive director William Shephard.
“We actually had to sue in the United States federal court in 1997 for the right to march in the NYPD uniforms in New York City Pride,
Janaya Khan, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, objects to GOAL’s invitation of Canadian police.
“It’s disgraceful that these sort of organizations within the police departments are reaching out to each other in this way in an act of solidarity,” Khan said. “The police are not a marginalized group. They are a political and militarized institution.”
Khan claims that GOAL’s decision to invite Toronto police officers revealed a “significant tone deafness.”