Pride or­ga­niz­ers made the right choice

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

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

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