Traffic control

You know how people like to use “intersectionalism” as a kind of intellectual bludgeon? Well that’s a silly question; of course you do, because we keep talking about it. Anyway – I’m wondering how they’re dealing with Toronto Pride and BLM. They crashed right into each other at that intersection on Sunday.

Members of the Black Lives Matter Toronto group briefly halted the Pride parade today, holding up the marching for about 30 minutes.

The parade didn’t re-start until after Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed a document agreeing to the group’s demands.

The organization was given the status of Honoured Group for the parade, which is the grand finale of Pride Month. It did not give Pride Toronto advance notice of their planned sit-in.

In other words BLM was given the status of Honoured Group beforehand, and then halted the parade without warning.

Alexandra Williams, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, told CBC’s Natasha Fatah that they held the sit-in because they wanted to hold Pride Toronto accountable for what she called “anti-blackness.”

Will Toronto lesbians and gays interrupt the next BLM event? Intersectionalism is supposed to cut all ways, you know.

Meanwhile, a gay Toronto cop has written an open letter to Pride:

This year, 2016, marked a first for me. My first Pride parade. I would be working, nonetheless it would be my first one in any capacity. Wow, what an event. What a spectacle, a joining of everyone.

The 2016 pride events really opened my eyes to something. The support that I have from my peers and supervisors has been unwavering. When I saw all those floats and officers marching (hundreds), I realized that my employer fully supports this part of me, and so many others like me. As I stood post at Yonge and College, ensuring a safe atmosphere, Chief Mark Saunders came up to me. I had the opportunity to salute him, and I knew that I had a leader who was invested in this celebration of Pride.

LGBTQ cops have struggled for decades. I am fortunate, because it is their struggles in the past, that have made my orientation an irrelevant factor in my workplace interactions. Members of police services, and their employers (like RBC, Telus, Porter, etc) have just as much right to participate as any other group.

Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them. They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias.

I suppose this illustrates why intersectionalism isn’t the answer to all questions. You can invoke it all you want to but it doesn’t resolve issues like this one. It’s tragically easy to understand why BLM doesn’t want to participate in honoring cops as cops – and it’s also easy to understand why LGBTQ cops don’t want to be excluded from Pride. What’s the solution? I have no idea, and invoking intersectionalism doesn’t help me a bit.

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