On July 3rd, grassroots activist group BLMTO halted Toronto’s Pride parade to address a lack of representation of black, brown, aboriginal, Asian, and latinx LGBTQI2S communities in the Pride festivities. Egale Canada Human Rights Trust stands behind BLMTO’s intended message.
While opinions are divided on the merits of halting the parade, we must remember the origins of Toronto Pride as an activist demonstration. We must remember the actions at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966 and at Stonewall in 1969 – actions that were led primarily by trans women of colour. We must honour these origins by engaging meaningfully with those in our communities who have been denied a voice, even if we are uncomfortable with the terms or platform on which they ask to be heard.
Egale Canada stands for the human rights of all LGBTQI2S people, especially those who are marginalized and systemically oppressed. We must resist considering Pride a celebration until all members of the LGBTQI2S community feel they can enjoy the same level of rights and freedoms—the right to feel safe in our own neighbourhoods, to live housed and comfortably, to have access to inclusive health care and education, income security and to enjoy fair and equitable justice in our legal systems.
These events have also given Egale cause to reflect on its own organizational structure and framework. We will continue to explore internally how we may take greater strides in making Egale ever more representative of the LGBTQI2S community’s diverse makeup.
Let us use Sunday’s events as an opportunity to recognize the intersection of gender, sexuality and racial discrimination, realize our common community goals, and continue to work towards equal rights with greater strength in unity.