Pride, Prejudice and the Nature of PR - Raymond Helkio - MyGayToronto

Pride, Prejudice and the Nature of PR
13 April 2018.

Peterborough Polices Services just announced a confidential community survey led by civilian member Peter Williams. While this may see like a small step (and it is) , but it's a public step, led by their police services, with the aim of improving relations and effective partnerships. Meanwhile in Toronto, our police chief is busy defending himself while the force's appointed LGBT liaison officer Danielle Botineau appears in countless photo ops, media releases and news interviews that all speak to "wanting" better relations but lacking anything remotely resembling an action. Having called and emailed her office over the past few years, I've never had a reply so all I can tell you about what they have done is from their website and as you'll see, the substance is missing. In the place of facts, stated goals or anything tangible that would suggest a dialogue is taking place you can find plenty of photos of smiling cops with community groups, but I fail to see why they need to take and post pictures of themselves doing their job. It's not the cops in the photos who are to blame, it's the police as an organization that has set it up this way when what's needed is to shift some of that bloated public relations budget into the community development side. 

Every year when Pride is just on the horizon, the community finds itself in locked in a battle over what Pride really means. It's reassuring to listen to my peers fight over who should be in the parade because it means people care. Without the controversy, it'd be nothing more than a party, and while I love a party, it's rare that lasting change will spring from a hangover. 

Just like a Canadian winter, Pride is our annual chance to revisit what happened last year and kick things forward a little. And just like winter, we Torontonians will complain about it every year as if it's a new thing. Annually, the city flips out after the first snowfall immediately followed by, "Can you believe how cold it is?/There's a foot of snow, how will I get to work?/This winter is soooooo long!" Really people, it's Canada and it's like this every year so deal with it.

Enduring the snow is why we are so especially fond of warm summer days. The cold and the heat will continue year and after year, as will Pride. With each issue that raises it's head, we have another chance to impact history and in the process become stronger as a community. Like winter, Pride will come and go this year and we can pretend the controversies are new but they never were. As Pride Toronto and the cops continue to wig-out over uniforms, the relationship suffers. We're going into our second year of public debate and yet everyone's talking, but has been little no action in that entire time. It's easy to paint each fiasco as if it's an anomaly, yet these are potential turning points, not just for our community, but for Toronto as a whole. We'll get there, but not until the question shifts from "Should cops be allowed to wear uniforms in our parade?" to "When we can we sit down and talk?"


- Connect, Transition and Archive: Pride Run Announces Beneficiaries - Apr '18
- The Buddy Cole Monologues: Aprés Le Déluge - Apr '18
- Pride, Prejudice and the Nature of PR - Apr '18
- Celebrating Otario Artists - Apr '18
- Gays Against Guns to Stage Protest as the "Human Beings" - Apr '18
- The Toronto Feedback Film Festival - Apr '18
- Ga-Ga for Gounod - Mar '18
- Come Together: LGBT+ Philanthropy Summit - Mar '18
- Let the GAY GAMES begin! - Mar '18
- Gay Men's Mental Health Summit - Mar '18
- LGBT Programming At The Myseum Intersections festival - Mar '18
- Valley of the Dolls: FADO's Performance Club with Keith Cole: - Mar '18
- Split over Bananarama - Feb '18
- El-Husseini At Yuk Yuk's - Feb '18
- Mel Malarkey's Odes & Acts is Lewd, Crude & Shrewd - Feb '18
- REVERY: #ShareTheLove for The Trevor Project - Feb '18
- Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees - Feb '18
- Masked on the Eve of St. George - Jan '18
- Cuarenta y Nueve book launch: Community Healing Through Art - Jan '18
- A Walk On The Wildside - Jan '18
- Annie Leibovitz: How To Give Good Picture - Jan '18
- Cineforum: Reg Hartt Talks Back - Jan '18
- Update On Chechnya: The Good, The Bad & The Banned - Dec '17
- One Giant Step for Government, One Small Step for HIV Criminalization - Dec '17
- Two Sopranos, a Mezzo and One Bitch Diva - Nov '17
- The Rainbow Lining In Pride's Deficit - Nov '17
- Gays Against Guns: Time For A Toronto Chapter? - Nov '17
- Veronica's Latest Single is on the Money - Nov '17
- Trans Artist Epiphany Mattel's New Single: #FIXYOFACE - Oct '17
- Irene Gandy: Love and Show Business - Oct '17
- SIZE DOES MATTER: New York's NewFest versus Toronto's Inside Out - Oct '17
- 7th Cousins: Truth, Love and the Search For Family - Sep '17
- BACK2SCHOOL: Gender, Sexuality and Support - Sep '17
- Nuit Blanche: Resistance, Revolution & Drag! - Sep '17
- YOUTH: How To Make An Allies From Your Straight and Cisgender Peers - Sep '17
- Werking Toronto's Halloween: Detox, Kim Chi and Alyssa - Sep '17
- Andre Gardens: Recipes From Your Favourite Drag Queens - Sep '17
- WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival - Sep '17
- AMANDA (Glen Paulin): Celebration of Life - Aug '17
- Black, Blue & gay All Over - Aug '17
- Daniel James - Aug '17
- Charlie Hides - Aug '17
- In A Heartbeat - Aug '17
- Quanah Style's New Single: Gives Me Life - Jul '17
- Make Mine A Virgin - Jul '17
- The Boy Who Brought Down a Bathhouse - Jul '17
- Toronto's silence surrounding Valery Gergiev - Jun '17
- Wild Women - Jun '17
- Cazwell Brings Femme back - Jun '17
- What Washington Gays Know About TO Gays - Jun '17
- Remington's Men of Steel - Jun '17
- Hot Wet And Full Of Pride - Jun '17
- In Your Pocket - Jun '17
- The Queen of Musical Theatre: ALLAN CARR - May '17
- In Your Pocket - May '17
- Scumbag - May '17
- To Be Gay and Asian - May '17
- The Bitch Is Back! - May '17
- Dishpan Hands and Heart, The Fab Columns - May '17
- Acoustic Boys & Funny Girls - May '17
- T.O. Chechnya with Love: WE EXSIST! - Apr '17
- Alaska Thunderfuck and Bianca Del Rio werq... - Apr '17
- Mixing it up at the Mocktail Mixer - Apr '17
- To Chechen, With Love - Apr '17
- Bringing Blyss To Church Street - Apr '17
- Double ginger beef - Mar '17
- Fak Yaass - Mar '17
- Ganja Queens: Get Your Drag On! - Mar '17
- Queer Things At Honest Ed's Farewell Art Party - Feb '17
- Headspace - Feb '17
- Tpronto Light Festival 2017 - Feb '17
- The End Of Please Like Me? Say It Isn't So! - Feb '17
- Bruno Billio - Feb '17
- Look Who's Running For Pride? - Jan '17
- The Sassy Side Of Siri - Jan '17
- 2016 Ups and Downs - Dec '16
- What NYC Gays Know About TO Gays - Dec '16