Pride organizers made the right choice
RE: Pride organizers should strive for inclusivity (Feb. 11)
Mr. Elliott claims that “the very public shunning of a police presence creates ... animosity where non existed before.” This is revisionist history; there are decades of experiences of animosity, violence, and distrust between LGBTQ+ communities and police forces across North America — including Hamilton.
Yes, work is being done to change practices, policies, and build relationships, but these are not yet at a point where these Pride organizations can in good conscience support organizational police visibility in parades. Police forces have benefited in terms of public relations from participating organizationally in pride parades. Members of the police (officers and civilians) are welcome to take their places in pride events, including parades, but this is quite a separate issue from police forces as organizations. Further, Mr. Elliott’s characterization of LGBTQ+ communities excluding police forces from participating in pride events as ironic given the exclusion experienced by LGBTQ+ communities supposes a false equivalency: Pride organizers do not have the same historic political, financial, or institutional power as police forces.
The “opportunity to display unity and tolerance” of police forces was not “missed”; it was consciously not taken. It is the right of LGBTQ+ community members, which includes members of Black Lives Matter, to take decisions that reflect the current state of the relationships with the institutions of police forces. I hope the work to heal these relationships will continue. Carla Borstad Klassen, Hamilton