Now Reading
Toronto police force ‘needs to rebuild LGBT community trust’ before marching in Pride

Toronto police force ‘needs to rebuild LGBT community trust’ before marching in Pride

Pride Toronto

The Toronto police force must first build trust within LGBTI community before they can take part in the city’s annual pride parade, say campaigners and residents.

The police force in the city has come up against resistance from the LGBTI community, for alleged ‘homophobia’ in the force following the police chief’s comments relating to the Toronto serial killer.

Mark Saunders told the Globe And Mail that ‘nobody’ came to offer information in 2012 on the Bruce McArthur case.

Toronto force didn’t attend Pride 2017 in uniforms

According to City News, Police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said in a statement:

‘The Toronto Police Service has been engaged in very meaningful discussions with Pride Toronto since last summer relating to our relationship with the LGBTQ2S communities.

‘A portion of that discussion included the Service’s desire to participate in this year’s Pride Parade.

‘The Service will respect the final decision of the Pride committee.

‘It will also continue developing its partnerships with the LGBTQ2S communities, one that is strong and enhances confidence and trust, no matter what the outcome.

‘This has always been our main priority and aspiration.’

LGBT Community says it’s too soon for police to attend

Soofia Mahmood, manager of communications for LGBTI advocacy group The 519, said police shouldn’t return after being absent last year.

‘…we don’t believe this is the time for the police to be asserting intentions to participate in Pride.

‘They have significant work they need to do to build the kind of trust that would make their participation appropriate.

‘We believe that they should be more focused on doing that work.’

Gay Village resident Stephen Low (Picture: CBC/YouTube)

Stephen Low, an academic who frequents the Gay Village, told CBC that he doesn’t think uniformed police should participate.

“It’s about the way they treated the missing men in our community and the comments that have happened since.

‘I don’t think they have shown or earned the trust of the community to be invited back and to celebrate them in their role of police officers.

‘Of course they are welcome as individual citizens,’ he added.

Photos of Soroush Mahmudi, Majeed Kayhan and Dean Lisowick from Toronto police)
Toronto police have charged Bruce McArthur with the murder of (L-R) Soroush Mahmudi, Majeed Kayhan and Dean Lisowick (Photos: Toronto Police)

Toronto chief Mark Saunders caused outrage with is comments on the Bruce McArthur case.

Police launched a special task force that year called Project Houston after three men went missing.

However, six years later, landscaper McArthur has been charged with six counts of murder in the first degree.