What does Pride mean to us? In large part, it means we are still here. Despite police violence at The Barracks and Pussy Palace, we are still here. Through HIV and AIDS, family rejection, homelessness, and stigma, queer and trans people are here. Not all of us have survived, and we remember all those we’ve lost in the struggle.
The land we occupy is still here, despite the reckless attempts to conquer it. Indigenous peoples are still here, despite the churches, residential schools, and prisons set up to erase language, knowledge, and culture. Immigrants brought to serve colonial interests are still here, despite attempts at assimilation and silencing.
Institutions try to co-opt queer and trans resistance. Politicians who deny housing and food come to Pride to pose for the cameras. Banks and insurance companies who maintain the capitalist order have a bigger presence at Corporate Pride than artists or grassroots support groups. Most ironically, the Toronto Police, whose violence made Pride necessary, have seen their festival budget triple this year.
These same cops stand by while fascists and haters attack drag shows, or they arrest us for defending ourselves. Cops work undercover to catch us hooking up in parks, or doing sex work to survive. They blame us when we go missing or are murdered. They put us in jail for using drugs or sleeping outside. They enforce white supremacy and class warfare.
Cops, institutions, and politicians never keep us safe — we protect one another — and that is why our Pride remains defiant, grounded, abolitionist, and anti-fascist.
We invite you to join us for a commemoration of struggle for queer and trans life. We will remember the histories that have preserved us. We’ll promote a future where all of us are safe and supported. We’ll eat, dance, sing, and celebrate. We will march for trans liberation, safe consumption sites, support for sex workers, increases to disability and welfare rates, and the dismantling of the police state that threatens us all. We look forward to welcoming you!