When it comes to the debate over Black Lives Matter and Toronto’s Pride Parade, moral certainty on either side ignores both history and reality.
Sometimes, wisdom is found in confusion. This is one of those times.
Toronto’s Pride Parade is glorious – a huge, friendly, in-your-face celebration of how far queer people have come in accepting themselves and being accepted. Toronto should be proud of Pride.
But anything that big gets complicated. Some complain that Pride celebrations in Toronto and elsewhere have become too commercial. Others see Pride as an opportunity for political action – against what some see as injustice by Israel toward Palestinians (Queers Against Israeli Apartheid), or injustice by whites toward people of colour (Black Lives Matter).
Pride should always resist becoming a vehicle for grievance. Holding up a parade, as Black Lives Matter protesters did, just to make a point is pointless. And their demand that police be expelled from Pride is not only wrong, but dangerous, after the killings in Orlando.
Queers and their friends have marvelled at the speed with which homosexuals went from being persecuted to accepted, even embraced. Remember, it was a major felony to commit homosexual acts in Canada prior to 1969 (and in some U.S. states until 2003). As late as 1989, the Canadian Forces were still discharging members of the military for being “not advantageously employable due to homosexuality.”