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My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Pride and prejudice

Recently, a black man in Minnesota named Philandro Castile was shot to death by a trigger-happy cop who smelled marijuana in Castile's car. He was killed in front of a four-year-old girl, who will spend the rest of her life with that moment seared into her memory. The dash cam video was made public and watching it, I burst into tears. How can we live in a world like this? It is precisely things like this that gave birth to Black Lives Matter, an international activist group that demands incidents such as this must stop. No sensible person on earth would disagree. This was an act of cold-blooded murder.

Last Sunday was Toronto's Pride march. For the past year, the antics of Black Lives Matter Toronto have haunted and divided Toronto's gay community. Everyone knows that what the group stands for, and that what they demand, is true. Cops shooting unarmed black people has got to stop. 

So why is it that the members of BLMTO leave me cold? The group 'missed' the deadline to register to march but showed up and marched anyway, even though they didn't pay the required fees. "Pride is actually ours. Queer and trans people of colour actually started this," said Rodney Diverlus. Excuse me, but what the fuck is he talking about? Did BLM also start Christmas, the World Series and the Macarena as well? It would be easier to take them seriously if their statements weren't always so batshit crazy. 

Interestingly, their strident demands from last year led to a magnificent Blockorama. I attended the Evelyn Champagne King performance and had a great time, like everyone else who was there. As for the 'no uniformed and armed cops' thing, I'm scratching my head. I attended the Trans March, the Dyke March, and the Sunday march, and everywhere I looked I saw armed cops. Sure, they weren't marching in any parades, but they were still very much a presence. We spent a whole year arguing about whether cops should be allowed to attend Pride, and in the end, they attended Pride. What a hollow victory for a pointless demand. 

As for the family of Philando Castile, I was glad to hear that they just won a three million dollar settlement and that the cop lost his job. Unfortunately, the cop was also aquitted of all charges, a verdict that left most people reeling from injustice. So the message of Black Lives Matter is clear. I just wish the arrogance of the messenger wasn't always so off-putting.


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