Opinion Column

So much for inclusivity

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Equality and inclusion shouldn’t be cards drawn to exclude groups based on stereotypes.

They’re real concepts – noble ones at that – but ones some Pride organizations, such as Edmonton Pride have lost the real meaning for.

As if preventing one particular political party from marching wasn’t counter to inclusivity, equality and acceptance enough, Edmonton Pride let a dozen protesters stop their annual parade over the weekend to demand police officers and military personnel not be allowed to march, either.

Rather than dig in their heels and use the incident as a way to further break down barriers between enforcement and the LGBTQ+ community and promote the very concepts of equality, Edmonton Pride decided to play doormat; they released a statement earlier this week that said the protesters’ demands would be met, and moving forward, police and military personnel would be banned from marching.

So much for inclusivity.

Pride may have started out as a protest against police oppression, but what was the end goal of that protest? Was it not to have police no longer target them because of who they love? Was it not to gain equal rights? What better resolution is there to such an issue than to have police, military and politicians of all stripes voluntarily take part in the parade?

I’ll agree with the protesters’ notion that perhaps Pride has lost its way, its purpose.

I disagree however, that such an event, organization, shouldn’t evolve. Ultimately, the goal should be that Pride, LGBTQ+ labels aren’t needed in the same way the feminist label shouldn’t be needed and people are treated fairly regardless of their skin colour, gender, orientation, religion etc. I disagree that an event now being promoted as a celebration of acceptance, inclusion and diversity should be turned into an event perpetuating identity politics and sewing division.

It’s 2018, for crying out loud. I’m not buying that any political party is against gay people (I’ve already expressed my own thoughts on GSAs), nor am I buying that the RCMP and individual police forces are targeting them. And what good does it do to marginalize the already marginalized gay people in the military?

There’s nothing about their decision to roll over for a dozen protesters that Edmonton Pride should be proud of.

I really fail to see what good they think they’re accomplishing here.

While police, military and politicians have worked hard to tear down barriers and eliminate stereotypes, those protesters are building them back up and Pride is enabling them to do so.

I get that perhaps more work needs to be done to convince people that certain political parties aren’t anti-gay (though I will point out that Cole Kander, the UCP candidate for Red Deer-North is proud to have two moms). More work obviously needs to be done to make the LGBTQ+ community feel safe around police and military.

However, they can’t continue to break down barriers while Pride and a couple handfuls of protesters build them back up. It isn’t achieving anything.

This is going to an unpopular opinion, but maybe Pride should be banned from having a parade – like those banned from it – until such a time they can practice what they preach. 

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