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Edmonton Pride Cancels Parade After Being Held Hostage By Demands of Social Justice Groups.

Less than two months before the annual Edmonton Pride parade was set to take place, the Edmonton Pride Festival Society board of directors voted to cancel this years parade partly to do with demands made by two local social justice groups.

Last Thursday, a board meeting was held to discuss a list of demands put forward by Shades of Colour and RaricaNow, two organizations that represent queer people of color in Edmonton. The demands included spaces for queer people of color, a sober dance party, $20,000 to be given to both Shades of Colour and RaricaNow, and a “public accountability statement” of the harm EPFS has allegedly done against queer people of color.

The same two groups organized a demonstration that shutdown last year’s Pride parade for over 30 minutes calling for the organizers to uninvite Edmonton police, RCMP and military personnel, amid a Canada-wide debate over the presence of police in Pride parades.

Four representatives from the two groups were invited to speak at last week’s meeting, according to Clayton Hitchcock, co-chair of the Pride Festival Society. But roughly 30  showed up and pushed their way into the room. One of the members of the board feeling unsafe called the police.

V. Guzman of Shades of Colour, a Latinx non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns, said no one from the group was arrested and police were co-operative.

Later that day, the festival announced on Facebook the meeting had been moved to a second location and later decided to cancel the Pride parade.

“In light of the current political and social environment, it has been determined that any attempt to host a festival will not be successful,” reads the email from the board of directors. “Please keep in mind that we are a not-for-profit organization run almost solely by volunteers.”

Despite the cancellation of the parade the other Pride events are still going forward.

“Losing the parade is a blow,” said one of the owners of the Evolution Wonderlounge in Edmonton . “Losing that massive Pride in the Park party is certainly a blow. But Pride isn’t cancelled.”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the 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 on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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9 thoughts on “Edmonton Pride Cancels Parade After Being Held Hostage By Demands of Social Justice Groups.”

  1. so rather than respond to the legitimate asks they took their toys and went home. OK then. Maybe someone else who can deal in good faith with the multiply-marginalized people in the Edmonton LGBTQ community, and who recognizes that cops don’t belomg at Pride, can step in.

    1. Some were legit and some were NOT. When you demand money especially amounts like $20k to each group it crosses the line from legitimate asks to the border of extortion. Being involved is one thing. Geting paid off is another.

    2. Demanding $20k payments is not legitimate. It’s ridiculous. If they feel they’re owed money, take the organization to court.

      Case isn’t strong enough to hold up on court? Then stop whining and quit asking for a handout… build up your own organization instead of asking others to do the work for you.

  2. Everyone belongs at pride, extortion does not. The damn divisiveness in the community will make us all look bad. Some one needs to grow a brain and think about actions before having an important event that thousands attend cancelled.

  3. Their asks don’t sound legitimate at all. They are asking for quite a lot of freebies, but very unclear what they have contributed themselves. Is this POC entitlement?

  4. Folks should realize that these demands didn’t come out of nowhere. The two groups had been meeting with EPFS twice a month in order to hash things out.

  5. I don’t disagree that an LGBT org in a major city should make an effort to be demographically representative. But that’s quite a different thing than give fringe organizations carte blanche to set the agenda for other organizations — which is basically what Shades of Colour and RaricaNow are doing.

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