In last August and early September, I spotted some posters appearing around downtown Peterborough advertising the Stonewall Revolutionary Committee. The name immediately sparked an interest in me and I wanted to learn more about the people invoking the name of the famous Stonewall Riots for a Peterborough Pride event.
I spoke with three organizing members Steve, Alexina and Max about the protest and why they wanted to organize.
Steve: So the Stonewall Revolutionary Committee was founded on the idea that historically Pride was a protest. It was a protest initiated by a black trans woman. And we feel that the spirit of that has been lost with a lot of commercialization of Pride and co-opting by politicians.
Alexina: Our focus is on the police presence that Pride. We are aware that there aren’t going to be any uniformed officers at the parade but there will be correctional officers representing themselves in the crowd in the park after the parade. And obviously we have issue with that considering the history between the LGBT+ community and the police.
Max: I believe we’re all aware of the recent murders in Toronto’s gay village and the police chief’s declaration that the people were murdered solely because the community wasn’t monitoring itself which we find appalling. That’s a gross statement from someone who’s supposed to be protecting and serving by mandate. LGBTQ people are murdered by cops or their murders are ignored by cops. And that’s just not something we find acceptable. It is a slap in the face to have people in uniform marching along especially in Toronto Pride.
Steve: It’s not any specific police in North America. They consistently have been an oppressive presence for LGBTQ2S people. And this really recent trend of the police trying to be friendly and show that they’re progressive by supporting LGBTQ2S movements is really two-faced because they’ll go to a parade and march, which I mean in itself is a problem for a lot of people at Pride parades. [Members of the queer community] find their presence threatening and intimidating and which makes it a less comfortable experience.
Alexina: We want to make it clear that we’re in no way protesting Pride itself — we are protesting the police presence.