It was just last week we shared with you "Pride Toronto Notices Huge Drop In Revenue. Surprised?" Many feel the drop in revenue may be linked to the Black Lives Matter / Banning Police from Pride Parade Participation. Is Vancouver now looking for a drop in funds or does the Vancouver Pride Society feel they need to heavily limit one group's participation in order to make others feel more welcome?
Police officers will not be allowed to wear their uniforms or carry weapons in the 2018 Vancouver Pride parade.
“As a board and staff we came to the decision in September that we were going to have no police uniforms, weapons or vehicles in the parade moving forward,” the Vancouver Pride Society’s executive director told about 25 attendees at its annual general meeting on Nov 25, 2017.
“What we wanted to do was work on building trust and relationships between the police and the people,” [Vancouver Pride Executive Director] Andrea Arnot says.
Imagine if I was planning a big ol' gay party. I ask you to bring the ice and mark off where people can park, but you can't attend. I mean we're still friends and our friendship is growing because of what you're doing for my party. It's just that some of these people I'm inviting just don't like you. The sight of you scares them. Mkay? Thanks. Now go stand out of sight. We're besties!
Police will still be invited to participate in the 2018 Pride parade but only as individuals marching with the City of Vancouver’s entry.
VPS co-chair Michelle Fortin initially told the annual general meeting that police who choose to march in 2018 would be allowed to wear branded t-shirts marking them as VPD, but Arnot later clarified to Xtra that she will be asking police officers not to bring any branded clothing.
“We’d like to have a conversation with them about that, about just being themselves in the parade, and hopefully the city will do City of Vancouver shirts,” Arnot says, adding “that conversation still needs to happen.”
- Black Lives Matter Vancouver publicly called for the removal of police in February 2017
- "as long as Black and other LGBT community members face discrimination from police, Pride should prioritize welcoming marginalized community members, rather than asking them to celebrate alongside a force that oppresses them, BLMV members said.
- Vancouver Pride invited police to march mostly without uniform in the August 2017 parade
- Up to 20 percent of the contingent still marched in full uniform with weapons. The rest wore t-shirts with the police department’s logo.
- BLMV called the compromise inadequate, and not a sign of meaningful, internal change.
The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) feels that its new policies "will allow people, including police, to participate in Pride 2018 in a way that respects or tries to make other people who might feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the parade feel invited as well.”
Remember, if you are a police officer and proud, you will not be able to designate in any way that you are an officer. You can march with the other city employees.
It seems that one group is taking the high road while another wanted the announcement made differently.
Pride co-chair Charmaine De Silva says police have responded positively and will cooperate to work with the community in a different way. The police are sticking to policy and seem to be abiding by the VPS decisions. No official statements have been made by the police except that they are restating what they said in May of this year, "expressing the department’s ongoing commitment to the LGBT community and to working with Pride."
DailyXtra reached out to members of the BLMV, whom although are very happy with the decision of the VPS wished that the announcement was more public and others wished the news was shared with BLMV directly instead of hearing it like everyone else.
“Regardless, we are committed to Black liberation, social justice and an inclusive Pride, so this decision represents a turning point in Vancouver politics that is worth celebrating, regardless of the communication mistakes,” Cicely Blain, a member of BLMV says.
Inclusive pride with limitations on some members of society. I've personally been very vocal with my disagreement with banning police from pride parades. As I've said before, if you're using the argument of "let's ban people because of past aggression from that group onto the LGBT community," I would rather ban politicians and church groups.
Arnot says Pride’s role should be to hold the police accountable to their commitment. Yep, come help set up, protect our party, but do not participate. But if you do participate, do not wear anything that may designate you as a Vancouver Police Officer.
“We are very excited by this decision — it is a huge victory for Black Lives Matter Vancouver given the work that we have put into making Pride more inclusive, safe and accessible for our community,” the group says in a Nov 28 email statement.
There is “no place in our community celebration for an institution that is actively involved and complicit in violence towards Black people in the USA and Canada alike,” BLMV’s statement continues.
Thanks for your help, your civic duty. Now go get me that ice and don't make eye contact with anyone.