Adam Dupuis's picture

Will Vancouver Be Next To Ban Police Involvement In Its Pride? Follow Toronto? LGBTQ Activists Say NO!

Is this turning out to be an Us vs Them? Which side is right in this battle over "Who Can Sit With Us?"

Pride In Our Progress started a petition one week ago to make sure the Vancouver chapter of Black Lives Matter does not get their way and block police participation in Vancouver Pride this year.  After Pride Toronto Voted To Ban Police Floats and Marchers From Its Parade and Toronto Police Agree To Not Participate In Pride Parade, it was clear to some in Vancouver that they did not want the same to happen to their Pride, their city. 

“Vancouver’s LGBTQ community has a long history of positive engagement with the Vancouver Police Department,” reads the petition.

One of its co-signatories, trans activist Sandy-Leo Laframboise, a 46-year veteran of LGBTQ organizing, told the National Post: “Banning the police from the pride parade will undermine our commitment to diversity and inclusion and all the work we’ve done.”

“They want to remove an entity that we’ve been working with for over 40 years.”

Gordon Hardy, co-founder of Vancouver’s Gay Liberation Front and another of the petition’s organizers said he had no problem with Black Lives Matter members marching in the parade and expressing their opinions.

“What we object to is that they come along and start telling the rest of us in the community who can and cannot be in the parade” he said.

Earlier this month, BLM Vancouver launched a petition to request, for the second time, that the Vancouver Pride Society have the police department withdraw all of its uniformed, armed officers from the parade (Black Lives Matter Vancouver Ask Police To Withdraw From Pride Parade / July 16,2016)

Although it concedes that “the police can of course be present to do their jobs and show support”, the chapter says that having the institution participate on a float in the parade is “not appropriate,” and “insulting” to those who made Pride celebrations possible and even “died for the cause.”

“If some members of the queer community do not feel comfortable at Pride events … we must be the priority,” the petition continues.

While organizers of “Our Pride Includes Our Police” acknowledge the “historic and ongoing injustices against the black communities in major American and Eastern Canadian cities,” they argue that “they do not reflect relationships between Vancouver’s LGBTQ communities with local law enforcement.”

“Vancouver Police are one of the most progressive police forces in the country,” Velvet Steele, a trans and sex worker activist who has worked on police relations, told the Georgia Straight earlier this week. - heatst.com

As of publication time, the pro-police petition had collected 2,589, excuse me, 2,590 signatures compared to 842 collected for Black Lives Matter Vancouver’s petition.

You can find the Pride in Our Progress petition over at Change.org.  And the BLM petition is at Change.org, too.

We've included the information and letters from each website below as well.

How do you feel about this debate?

And is it coming down to LGBTQ activists vs Black Lives Matter?