PAY ATTENTION

I cannot take the white humans at Toronto Pride who are upset that their party was interrupted by BLM protesters. They were invited. They were invited specifically because they ARE protesters and activists. They were invited because of their successful protests earlier this year outside Toronto Police Headquarters. They were invited as guests of honour, of importance.
 
Various news sites are reporting solely that the BLM demands were to ban the police in future Pride Marches. Almost all do not mention that this was the third March in which they protested that weekend. Most of those sites don’t mention that the protest was for a list of demands that included more funding and staging for events featuring POCs and indigenous people, a return of the South Asian stage, and for the event to hire more POCs and indigenous people. That the organizer himself said that BLM was invited because Toronto Pride has had significant criticism that it has become an event for (white) tourists and not for the very people it claims to represent. That even then, the event has not worked to include POCs and indigenous people.
 
Many have complained that Toronto Pride is a party with no room for the political. Those are the people who do not know that the event was started as a protest against the police who had raided local bath houses, arresting three hundred people unnecessarily. Just recently the Chief of the Toronto Police apologized for those raids to acknowledge the grievous harm done to the gay community by the force.
 
Just last month, 43 queer and trans people of colour, members of different ethnic minority groups were murdered in Orlando, Florida at a gay club. This year’s Toronto Pride was to honour them and acknowledge how much more work has to be done for queer and trans people of colour to feel safe and accepted. And yet there were those who find it acceptable to complain that THEIR party was interrupted by a political protest, completely oblivious.
 
Pay attention. PAY ATTENTION. Any white woman expressing these selfish myopic views has FAILED as an intersectional feminist. Any white man who has decided that his queer and/or trans identity trumps that of POCs and indigenous people has not owned his white privilege. Anyone who is cis het and is complaining about how they were inconvenienced: stop talking. PAY ATTENTION.
 
You are arguing that your ‘right’ to party at an event allegedly for all is more important than inclusion and consideration for a group that does not feel welcome, safe or included. Instead of welcoming them, instead of finding out how to make them feel welcome, you have told them that your attendance is more important than theirs.
 
PAY ATTENTION.
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2 thoughts on “PAY ATTENTION

  1. ummm…. where to start… well for starters you start the article explaining you “cannot take the white humans” which puts your argument against one group of people, when what BLM effected more than just the white community.

    secondly, the LGBT community was the greatest effected by the Orlando massacre. Yes other minorities, including blacks were also killed, but so where straight white males. Please provide some sort of reference on how the Black community and minorities were ignored or not made to feel safe this year at pride?

    lastly, and not because there are only 3 flaws in your article but because I need to move on, how a message is presented is often stronger than the message itself. Interrupting the pride parade was far too extreme. Again please provide some context into what the Pride Organizers or LGBT community have done that justifies the BLM group to interrupt a peaceful parade. Do some research on the respect shown towards the BLM group by toronto police, city of toronto and government of ontario and you will quickly learn that the BLM community has little ground to stand on in toronto and ontario.

    while our city is flawed and pride parade is far from perfect, to hold a parade hostage and make demands that will only divide our society will never improve anyone’s situation

    • Where to start? Some reading probably would have been a good idea. Then you might know details such as 90% of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub were of Hispanic descent (almost half were from Puerto Rico). You might have known it was Latinx Night at the club. If you’d done some reading, you would know things like the fact that the BLM protesters were not only queer and trans (you keep separating them out as if there are members of the LGBTQ community…then the BLM protesters. Golly, almost as if you don’t regard them as part of the community: which would be a VERY big part of their entire point), but that they were INVITED to lead the March. The organizer said he was looking forward to seeing how they brought awareness to issues of POCs and indigenous people and that he was aware that Toronto Pride has faced a barrage of criticism over issues of inclusion of those very groups.

      They didn’t hold a parade hostage. They were LEADING the March and they halted it to do exactly what they do: protest and bring awareness. They were not picked to lead because of how they look in spandex and sequins. A protest/activism group was brought in to be themselves and so they were. It was not the first protest of the weekend: it was their THIRD. They had no place to do any protesting but the March because, as their demands make clear, there are not separate events and stages for them. You seem completely unaware as to what any of their demands are. You seem unaware that there were demands, solely that there was a half-hour delay.

      They were not protesting how they, BLM Toronto, personally feel about interaction with police; they were protesting how the black community as a whole is treated. You are complaining about a thirty minute delay in the March; they’re complaining about being unable to walk down the street in downtown Toronto without the potential for being carded or harassed or targeted.

      Toronto Pride was founded as a political protest, after the Toronto Police raided bath houses and arrested 300 people thirty years ago (almost all the charges were dropped). It was an event to show visibility, defiance, to show support. The UN long ago announced that Toronto is the most ethnically diverse city; yet too many people ignore that and assume that white people are still the default and everyone else has to wait their turn to be considered.

      That you are genuinely suggesting that the demands made by the queer and trans BLM protesters (for the event to hire POCs and indigenous people, to have events for POCs and indigenous people, to bring back the South Asian stage) are too upsetting for “Toronto society” is a ludicrous and privileged thing to say. You really want to stand behind that statement? That it will be too harmful to our society that POCs and indigenous people are asking to feel safe, welcome, and included?

      The post is called PAY ATTENTION. It seems you skipped that part.

      ***
      “From February this year, “Rodney Diverius, the movement’s co-founder, says historically LGBT spaces like Pride have failed to be fully inclusive of all identities, including those in African and Caribbean communities.

      “We hope to highlight and challenge the ways that anti-blackness is present in LGBT spaces, all the while celebrating the beauty and ferociousness of Black queer, trans, and gender diverse Torontonians,” he said in a statement.”
      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/02/10/black-lives-matter-pride-parade_n_9201614.html

      http://m.therecord.com/news-story/6740065-black-lives-matter-protesters-interrupt-pride-mural-unveiling-by-toronto-police

      http://chrismilloy.ca/2015/07/my-open-letter-of-resignation-from-pride-toronto/

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/black-lives-matter-toronto-pride-kinsman-1.3665829

      http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/the-toronto-polices-carding-practices

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