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Adam Zivo: Police are worth attending the Pride Festival

If you change the institution, you need to be involved in it

A Hamilton, Ont., police officer marches in the Toronto's Pride parade in 2016, the last year in which uniformed officers were allowed to participate.
Police officers in Hamilton, Ontario will march to last year's 2016 Toronto Pride Parade, where uniformed police officers were allowed to attend. Photo: Ernest Doroszuk / Toronto Sun / Postmedia Network

Police have been banned from many Canadian pride festivals for many years. I've been. Activists argue that the presence of police is inappropriate because of historical and ongoing issues regarding racism, homosexual disgust, and transphobia. But police should be allowed to return to pride for practical reasons: if you want to change institutions, you need to engage in it.

Pride Toronto is the first to march in uniform to policein 2017 in response to the upset from Black Lives Matter TorontoBanned. That same year, policevoluntarily resigned from Halifax Pride, and in 2020 Vancouver Pridealso banned police

. Safety still attending these festivals to stay public. The ban simply means that the police station cannot attend the festival's events — whether it means having a booth or marching with others in the parade.

The reason for these bans is that it is inappropriate to include police in pride because of therelationship with the minority community. When making this claim, activists tend to take a breathtaking list of past injustices. For example, Canadian police raided and harassed LGBTQ social spaces until the early 2000s

. They also had the unsightly treatment and race of theBruce McArthur case(MacArthur, a serial killer, who killed eight gay men in Toronto between 2010 and 2017). It also mentions more recent complaints, such as the inherent issues of discrimination. Policing.

Therefore, banning police is a way to create "accountability" and pride on marginalized groups who may feel "unsafe" due to the presence of police officers themselves. May be more "comprehensive".

Anti-police voices tend to show how fragile they are, so the safety debate should be skeptical. For example, in the 2017CBC Opinion Piece, two queer scholars said, "For many, just looking at police uniforms can cause a full-blown panic attack." Is written. This rhetoric is like a parody comedy kit and is normal for these circles.

If people want to exaggerate their vulnerabilities in order to secure their political goals, it is their privilege. But despite the ban, it's unconvincing if police officers are still in pride to maintain public safety (in fact,the threat of violence is increasing, so this year even more. There may be many police officers against the LGBTQ community).

For some reason, it's better for anti-police activists to see police officers waving flags in a parade separated from everyone in a barricade than to see police officers wandering around the festival venue. It will be the trigger. work. Most people suspect that such a discrepancy is dishonest in the claim that "the police in pride make me feel dangerous." But who knows, the world is a mysterious place.

When it comes to accountability, yes, police were terrible for LGBTQ people. But it wasn't as terrible as many other institutions that existed in the days when homosexuality and transphobia were the norm. Even the Liberal Party and the Toronto Star are now stubborn allies, andwashostile to the LGBTQ people. And they changed and the past became water under the bridge — because social progress requires forgiveness.

However, the police are not independently forgiven of the past and of their evolving inclusiveness. Queer activists always evoke old history as if the 1980s were yesterday. Or exaggerate the police's current problems and give the impression that nothing has changed.

For example, when Toronto Pride banned police, queer activists were furious at thepolice officer's videoand said when they arrested an HIV-positive person: .. Spit on your face and you will get AIDS. The comments reinforce the false idea of ​​how HIV is transmitted, and police apologized for it.

But when listening to the queer activists of the time (in those circles, as I did), this is irreparable evidence for the police. You would think it was. Making insensitive statements (and being reprimanded for them) was comparable to the normalized harassment of past generations.

That said, despite significant progress, there is clearly room for improvement. For example, arecent reportfrom the Toronto police confirms that police often use more force against blacks without explicit justification.

Police stations can try to improve themselves in these areas, but they can only make very fast progress if they work alone. Police can build bridges, meet with police, conduct workshops, conduct interviews, give presentations, and more if helped by activists who are willing to learn cultural and institutional constraints that impede change. You can make rapid progress.

As long as LGBTQ relationships continue, allowing police to participate in pride only increases exposure between these two groups and better understands each other. Useful for.

But that's not what many queer activists want. Many activists, such asNo Pride of the Police Union, believe that police are inherently illegal and need to be abolished. Ideally magical, abolitionism is incredibly unpopular, anddisproportionate by privileged and frivolous people (people whose crime is an abstract concept). They don't see or care about being endorsed by.

Improving police relations and making police more impartial is actually against the interests of these activists. Because it removes steam from their revolutionary message. So, instead of taking concrete steps to improve police, the crowd is obsessed with opening an ever-increasing gap between police and the LGBTQ community.

The Pride Festival may continue to spoil this, but in a better world, the concrete interests of the community are paramount.

National Post


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