Pride Toronto issues apology

Sep 20, 2016 | News

By Alana MacLeod

Reaction continued Tuesday to Pride Toronto’s apology for ‘anti-blackness and repeated marginalization.’

Monday night’s apology brings to light current and historical issues within the well-known organization.

“Pride Toronto wants to begin by apologizing emphatically and unreservedly for its role in deepening the divisions in our community, for a history of anti-blackness and repeated marginalization of the marginalized within our community that our organization has continued,” the statement read.

Black Lives Matter halted the pride parade this summer saying Pride Toronto had shown “anti-blackness.” Mathieu Chantelois, who was the executive director of Pride Toronto at the time, signed a list of demands made by Black Lives Matter Toronto in order to let the parade continue.

However, he retracted the agreement he made to ban police floats the very next day.

Two weeks later, Chantelois resigned from his position following allegations concerning racism, sexism and sexual harassment.

Since then, Pride Toronto wrote that they’ve “received and read over 1,100 emails from community members.”

This isn’t the first time Pride Toronto has been called out for allegations of marginalization and some feel it’s about time they at least admit that.

Christin Milloy, former volunteer at Pride Toronto who filled the role as Team Lead of the Trans Pride Team from 2014-2015, isn’t very impressed with the apology.

“It took them three weeks to issue a statement that essentially says nothing,” Milloy said. “I think Pride Toronto needs to prioritize its marginalized communities rather than ignore them.”

“They haven’t given any clarity on what they’re going to do to address the complaints they’ve received.”

Milloy made it clear she does not speak for the Black Lives Matter community but fully supports their fight.

“I believe significant restructuring is needed at Pride TO. We may even see alternatives to Pride arising in the future,” she said.

On July 17, 2015, Milloy released an open letter of resignation from the organization citing similar issues surrounding marginalization.

“Pride Toronto started as a queer liberation riot, born of the 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids,” the letter reads.

“It was supported through the early years not just by white cis gay and lesbians, but also Trans people and other marginalized queer identities. Owing to its grassroots origins, it is morally and ethically incumbent on Pride Toronto to preserve and maintain the political fight for queer liberation until that goal is met, not just for the ‘LGB,’ but also for the ‘TTIQQ2SA’ (and for all over queer identities that may follow in the future.)”

Milloy went on to say that “by failing to address and prioritize the needs of these groups, Pride Toronto is essentially just fraudulently pretending to represent them, while taking credit as if they actually do.”

Black Lives Matter and Pride Toronto were unable to be reached for comment.