Pride Toronto members voted to remove police floats and marches from their annual parade following a heated discussion at its general meeting Tuesday night.
The topic of police participation at the Pride parade temporarily sidetracked the meeting which was initially supposed to focus on electing five new board members and finances.
The Toronto chapter of the Black Lives Matter group staged a sit-in last summer that halted the Pride parade for nearly 30 minutes. They had asked for nine demands to be met, one of which included a ban on police at future events.
The membership voted on Tuesday to endorse all of the demands that also referenced more funding for Black Queer Youth, community stages and prioritizing of the hiring of Black transwomen, Indigenous people and others from vulnerable communities at Pride.
But not everyone agreed the move was the right one. Some on Twitter argued police exclusion goes against what the Pride parade stands for.
A gay Toronto Police officer who wrote an open letter last year fearing he would be excluded from the Pride parade also expressed his disappointment over the decision.
“It certainly is disappointing to see what has transpired,” Chuck Krangle said in an e-mail to Global News. “I feel my statement of ‘Exclusion does not promote Inclusion‘ speaks volumes to the situation.”
Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack called it a “major setback” for police and LGBTQ relations.
Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement on Wednesday citing the importance of inclusion in the parade and the need to foster respect.
“The Toronto Police have had a presence in the Pride parade for more than a decade and continue to make meaningful efforts to build bridges with the LGBTQ2S community,” he said.
“With respect to police participation in the Pride parade, I am hopeful that people of goodwill can find a way to resolve this issue and to ensure that we can continue to build those vitally important bridges.”
-With a report from Cindy Pom