Christin Milloy:

Rise up and seize equality

My Open Letter of Resignation from Pride Toronto


To Whom it May Concern,

With heavy heart, I find it necessary to publicly submit my resignation from Pride Toronto, in my capacity as the unpaid volunteer Team Lead of the Trans Pride Team.

When I was asked to join this team in March of 2014 in the lead-up to WorldPride, following years of enmity between Pride and elements of the Trans community, my role was ostensibly to support the goal of achieving legitimate Trans inclusion by implementing positive changes at the Pride Festival.

Unofficially, my role was to smooth over the extremely poor relationship with Toronto’s Trans community that had arisen from Pride Toronto’s years of mistreatment and disrespect.

I pursued these goals by redressing legitimate grievances, and by communicating more transparently with communities to improve participation opportunities for grassroots Trans organizers in decisions relating to Trans Pride and the Trans Pride March.

Many positive strides were made under my leadership of this team, however I also discovered limitations.

After struggling to achieve these goals through two festival years, and forming a deeper understanding of the inner workings of Pride Toronto, I have concluded that Pride Toronto cannot and will not truly become safe and accessible to the Trans Community as a whole unless a significant organizational transformation takes place— One that would require changes that are well beyond my authority to implement, if I stay in the limited capacity of Volunteer Team Lead.

I reached my decision to resign as the result of my concern over several key areas, where I firmly believe Pride’s current structure has led to harm in our queer communities.

In its present form, the poisonous threat of Pride continues: We all, marginalized queers and allies, must work together to reclaim our identities from the avaricious clutches of the selfish rainbow party corporation.

Pride has forgotten what they stand for.

Pride Toronto has lost their way, and forgotten what they once stood for.

Failure to Uphold Queer Liberation Mandate

Pride Toronto presently bills itself as supporting all of the “LGBTTIQQ2SA*” communities. Over the years, that acronym has grown as Pride Toronto has collected letters, subsuming new sexual and gender minorities into its supposed mandate like a video game character collects coins and fruit.

Pride Toronto started as a queer liberation riot, born of the 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids. It was supported through the early years not just by white cis gays and lesbians, but also by Trans people and other marginalized queer identities. Owing to its grassroots origins, it is morally and ethically incumbent on Pride Toronto to preserve and maintain the political fight for queer liberation until that goal is met, not just for the “LGB,” but also for the “TTIQQ2SA*” (and for all other queer identities that may follow in the future).

The biggest danger for us is to try to do the same thing we were doing in 1981.
As an organization, as a movement, every year it’s important for us to reinvent ourselves, to see how we’re going to stay relevant.

— Mathieu Chantelois, Executive Director Pride Toronto (CBC June 24, 2015)

By presently failing to address and prioritize the needs of these groups, Pride Toronto is essentially just fraudulently pretending to represent them, while taking credit as if they actually do. Moreover, by behaving in this manner, Pride Toronto is falsely transmitting the impression to mainstream society that queer liberation for these marginalized groups is already achieved. In short, Pride Toronto’s actions are erasing marginalized queer people, in favour of a giant celebration for cis gay and lesbian people who have already achieved a legal state of equality in Canada.

In the wake of the forces of marriage equality, mainstreaming, and gentrification that have all taken root in the cis gay and lesbian communities, Pride Toronto has lost its way. Pride Toronto has prioritized for itself its operation as a celebratory party festival, to attract money for Pride’s partners and sponsors by packaging the festival’s queer attendees into a commodity.

Cis gays and lesbians are more valuable consumers than poor marginalized queers, and so that’s where Pride Toronto and its sponsors place their focus. This is unacceptable.

In its present form, Pride Toronto is throwing an awesome beer and condoms party (sponsored by beer and condoms), while utterly failing to fulfil its moral and ethical responsibility to liberate marginalized queers… But is meanwhile absorbing a colossal amount of space and resources in our communities, by appropriating those same marginalized queer identities into an alphabet soup of “inclusion theatre.”

Failing the immediate appearance of dramatic reforms at Pride Toronto, of profound re-politicization and a clear return to more grassroots-style organizing, then in my personal opinion the organization should be disbanded and/or heavily protested by grassroots elements of marginalized communities and their allies, in recognition that Pride Toronto (should it continue along its present path) is indeed a harmful and damaging force against queer liberation.

Failure to Centre Trans and Other Marginalized Voices

There are some important demographics not even properly represented in the aforementioned acronym: Black queer people, queer people of colour, queer people with disabilities, poor queers, and any other intersectional identity along which oppression occurs as a consequence of societal discrimination. These identities are erased by the acronym of sexual and gender minority labels, in any white-dominated space such as Pride Toronto is.

You cannot claim to have elevated queers as a whole, when you have failed to address the needs of those queers who have suffered disproportionately because they are poor, disabled, or racialized.

Major decision-making roles in Pride Toronto are occupied by cis white men. There is zero involvement of Trans women of colour, across virtually every department and team including on Pride Toronto’s Board of Directors.

Moreover, Pride’s “members only” voting system for their Board is a classist affair, and alienates members of marginalized communities from being able to participate: Voting is open only to volunteers of Pride Toronto, and to non-volunteers who were economically-privileged members of the community— Because votes (“memberships”) are openly sold to non-volunteers in exchange for money.

Once again Pride Toronto demonstrates clear priorities: Money is more important than the needs of marginalized queers. In fact, Pride’s annual so-called Human Rights Conference charges ticket prices for attendees that run into the hundreds of dollars. Any Human Rights Conference that prices itself out of accessibility to the vast majority of marginalized community members is a hypocritical farce— That was the reason I pulled out as a presenter at the HRC in 2014. (My topic, ironically enough, was to have been how Trans and other marginalized queers are alienated from mainstream LGBT organizations such as Pride Toronto.)

Anti-oppression organizations, like Pride Toronto is supposed to be, must set as their priority promoting and centering the marginalized— Not subjugating, suppressing and silencing them.

At this point in history, Trans women of colour should be running Pride Toronto… Instead, they are apparently unwilling even to approach the organization (judging by the demographics of the volunteer base at the Team Lead and Team Member levels). Pride Toronto leadership need to ask themselves “why,” organizationally, does it appear from all available evidence that Pride is not perceived as viable by members of marginalized groups? Could it be (I put it for consideration) that the organization operates oppressively?

Continued Support of Transmisogynist Primary Sponsor, TD Bank, who Actively Discriminate against Trans Women

In 2015, Pride Toronto again endorsed TD Bank, despite the fact that in 2014 TD Bank was revealed to be locking trans women out of their own bank accounts based on how feminine they sound on the phone. A 2014 article in Daily XTRA exposed TD Bank’s transphobic customer service and transmisogynist identification policy, by which Trans people are judged (and punished) based on the quality of their voice.

So far, TD Bank has refused to eliminate this policy of discrimination. TD Bank representative Ron Puccini, Senior Manager of Diversity at TD Bank, acknowledged the issue in a non-apology for the “inconvenience,” but explained that the policy would continue as a security measure despite the discrimination it causes against trans women.

Each summer, TD Bank publishes seasonally rainbow-themed ads showing happy gays and lesbians enjoying an equitable level of service as compared against heterosexual people. TD hands Pride Toronto the digital equivalent of a suitcase full of money, and in exchange Pride Toronto (on behalf of the entire “LGBTTIQQ2SA*” communities, let’s not forget) endorses TD Bank as a “queer friendly” business: Thus delivering new customers to them at the festival.

Pride Toronto uses that TD Bank money to throw a bigger and better party than they would otherwise be able.

As an organization that actively discriminates and harms Trans people, TD Bank should be banned from sponsoring Pride Toronto, until and unless they acknowledge and eliminate their transmisogynist policies. Instead, Pride Toronto continues to do business with TD Bank, because money is more important to Pride Toronto than trans equality.

I made Pride Leadership aware of this by sending them the article in 2014, and brought it up personally to the new Executive Director Mathieu Chantelois very early in 2015, at one of the Pride’s MTMs (Monthly Team Meetings). Nevertheless, to my knowledge no steps were ever taken by Pride Toronto to address this issue with TD Bank, and Pride Toronto hasn’t commented publicly on TD’s discrimination problem.

Once again, Pride Toronto’s priorities are clear: Money comes before the needs of Trans people.

Lack of Accountability Following Egregious Systematic Failures in Physical and Sensory Accessibility

I have noted the disturbing trend of Accessibility being treated as an afterthought at Pride Toronto.

For years, Accessibility has not been the responsibility of paid staff, but left up to a small team of unpaid volunteers to handle. This team has operated in relative organizational isolation from all the other teams, and from the staff who put together the festival. Only in 2015, for the first time ever, were Accessibility responsibilities shared by a paid consultant, who was hired only for the final three months leading up to the festival.

This has led to oversights in physical accessibility such as the accessible risers (allowing view of the Parade) being physically located too far away from accessible portable toilets to be practical for those persons relying on both. The explanation for this was that risers and portable toilets were handled by “separate teams.”

It is incumbent on Pride Toronto to recognize and find lasting, effective solutions to these problems. To put it plainly, Pride needs to spend real money on Accessibility, and systems need to be in place that prioritize Accessibility across all teams… Rather than isolating that responsibility to a smaller team who can’t possibly supervise the rest effectively.

I have also witnessed what I believe to be a disturbing cumulative phenomenon affecting ASL accessibility at Pride Toronto, for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people.

Rumours abound that local queer ASL interpreters have been mistreated by Pride Toronto from time to time, or have not received the required information they need to do their jobs. While I am not in a position to confirm those rumours as true or false, I will describe what I have personally witnessed, and explain what I believe is happening.

The most important lesson I’ve learned from organizing events with ASL interpretation concerns professional interactions between the organizers and the interpreters.

When hired ASL interpreters reach out and request speakers’ notes, or musical set-lists, or seek to be put into contact directly with the guests of an upcoming event, the interpreters are not trying to be annoying or cause problems: They are simply endeavouring to access the materials that are necessary for them to do their jobs properly. They must be met, in all cases, with acceptance, support and cooperation. With grace.

They should never be ignored, or met with passive aggression (which is a form of interrogative violence).

I am a hearing-privileged person with only a very rudimentary skill level at communicating in ASL, but I’ve formed a deep appreciation for Toronto’s Deaf queer community and the unique challenges they face in accessing events and spaces which I get to take for granted as a hearing person.

Year after year I have seen incomplete coverage, and inadequate availability of ASL interpreters at Pride Toronto, for which the explanation given has been that there is a shortage, or “not enough” ASL interpreters available in Toronto, or some variation of the explanation “ASL interpreters are not responding to our calls for work.”

I am admittedly an outsider to this community, however based on my internal interactions at Pride, and my own experience hiring interpreters for my events, I strongly suspect that Pride Toronto has somehow alienated or offended a significant number of Toronto’s local queer English ASL interpreters, to the degree that these people no longer wish to work at Pride events.

This “shortage” has led to Pride Toronto hiring interpreters from out-of-town agencies, who have supplied interpreters who are (most often) heterosexual cis people, with minimal-or-zero background in social justice perspectives.

For example, a sex worker could describe their experience proudly, in empowered terms and tone of voice (in English) to a crowd of mostly hearing people… But if the interpreter has a strong cultural bias against sex work, and doesn’t really understand the politics, they might unintentionally interpret for the Deaf in the crowd using ASL signs which would convey a sense of victimization in the speakers’ own statements, when the speaker had not intended this meaning.

To be very clear, these interpreters are 100% professional, totally fluent… They are not “bad” interpreters, they are “good” interpreters. However, because of the problem of different cultural backgrounds, I am afraid that these “good” interpreters might not be the “appropriate” interpreters for a queer event. Pride Toronto may be unwittingly introducing an unconscious straight cis class-based cultural bias into the ASL interpretation, arising from Pride’s new practice of hiring interpreters who are neither queer nor social justice aware.

As I said before, this is just my theory. The actual cause of Pride’s difficulties in hiring local queer interpreters remains unclear And I do look forward to further discussion on this issue from persons more competent to comment than I am, such as members of the Deaf community, and perhaps local queer interpreters who may wish to share their thoughts on the subject.

However, if my theory is correct, if Pride Toronto has difficulty hiring local queer ASL interpreters because the interpreters have been mistreated in the past and don’t wish to return, then I would offer the following observation: For Pride Toronto to now defend itself by pointing the finger at local queer interpreters, for their “failure” to answer the call for work at Pride events, that is very much like telling the same lie over and over and blaming the victim when they stop believing it.

I believe that the most appropriate interpreters for community events will be persons who are themselves members of the community they are serving.

Pride Toronto should be fostering and nurturing productive working relationships with all local queer ASL interpreters in Toronto. They should rebuild those relationships by treating the interpreters with more professional respect, and Pride should be approaching those local queer ASL interpreters first, early, before opening up public announcements hiring for Pride gigs. I suspect that further investigation would reveal that Pride Toronto has failed to handle its relationships with interpreters properly.

Tokenization of People of Colour

Since joining the Trans Pride Team, I have essentially enjoyed unilateral control over all aspects of Trans Pride at Pride Toronto.

It is my duty as a social justice activist who is white to be mindful of my privilege: I have personally benefited all my life from my people’s heritage of genocide and colonial oppression, and from the systematic racialization of indigenous, Black, and other non-white persons, which not only continues to this day in society but is worsening as time goes on.

I have watched at least one volunteer at Pride Toronto be kept on by the organization despite having no active role, only because there were no suitable non-white replacement volunteers for the team they were on. This seemed to be for the express purpose of having them show up at meetings to demonstrate diversity— Or in many cases, just so that their team could be described as not exclusively white.

As committed as I am to providing space for marginalized voices, to supporting Black people and people of colour and decrying their oppression, and of creating safer spaces for such persons inside Trans Pride and throughout Pride Toronto, I can no longer abide the lack of presence of Trans Women of Colour on the leadership of Pride Toronto and the Trans Pride Team, and indeed the chronic absence of any intersectionally marginalized perspectives at all, which has characterized Trans Pride since I was handed responsibility.

I would invite Pride Toronto to consider why Trans people of colour, especially Trans women of colour, don’t seem to want to be involved in Pride Toronto.

Repeated Censure and Apparent Purge of Dyke March Team

Dyke March team has long been, in my opinion, the most politically oriented part of Pride Toronto. Trans Pride was comparatively much less “troublesome,” at least before I came on board. Despite some notorious ancient history in which Toronto’s Dyke and Trans communities failed to find common ground, it has been my experience in my two years leading Trans Pride that the Dyke March team have been fantastic allies. Working together with them, I’ve found opportunities to join them in their meetings, and see how Dyke March is run.

In that capacity, I’ve born witness to a series of interactions between Dyke March and Pride Toronto which I find disturbing. In particular, the degree to which the Dyke March’s political autonomy has apparently been compromised by Pride Toronto and its sponsors.

In very recent Dyke March history, I met a previous set of Team Leads who collectively espoused a very anti-corporate politic. They were very much against having their official T-shirts carrying corporate sponsor logos (such as transmisogynist TD Bank). In some cases they and their volunteers had cut off, or covered up, the corporate logos from their shirts in previous years.

I watched as they were chastised and criticized heavily for these acts, and as an independent T-shirt design they had planned was intercepted by Pride leadership, and adulterated with corporate logo. Recall Dyke March history: It started independently of Pride, but was later subsumed. Last year I witnessed Pride Toronto suppress the politic which the Dyke March team would have preferred to express in their march. An enforced compromise, bending Dyke March to the will of corporate interests, those same corporate interests that favour men over women, and cis over trans (not to mention straight over gay, though maybe not-so-much anymore).

Guess what else? Those troublesome team leads are all gone now. Some quit; At least one was fired. The bottom line is, this year’s Dyke March team was essentially a complete replacement of last year’s. Now let me go on record and say, the new batch are great people, with good values, if a little less confrontational with Pride leadership. And they are not complicit in the actions of Pride Toronto. Nevertheless, the fact remains that as a consequence of that logo disagreement and some other failures of political alignment, a group of strong activist queer political women were alienated from Pride Toronto in favour of corporate interests.

Take note of this, and appreciate the cognitive dissonance arising here— That Pride Toronto and their sponsors feel justified in bullying women about what they wear on their own bodies, as they’re in the midst of leading a politicized march whose primary theme is supposed to be anti-misogyny and the empowerment of queer women. It boggles my mind, and infuriates me.

Bottom Line

Queer activists are at a crossroads. Pride doesn’t own Dyke March or Trans March, and I don’t believe they belong under Pride Toronto control any longer.

Indeed, it is time to ask whether the Pride festival as we know it should even be allowed to continue.

Sincerely,

Christin Milloy
(Former) Team Lead, Trans Pride, Pride Toronto

This version has been edited since the print copy was delivered to Pride Toronto Executive Director Mathieu Chantelois. The changes are as follows:

1. Minor grammatical and syntactic improvements
2. Some additional sentences have been added, for clarity
3. A metaphor was adjusted to remove language that might have been upsetting to survivors of domestic violence (Thank you, draft readers)

4. A section was partially re-written to remove personal identifying details, at the request of the individual 
5. The CBC Quote from Mathieu Chantelois was added to the section on Queer Liberation Mandate

 

27 Comments

  1. D.I. Harris
    Friday, 2015.07.17 at 19:02

    I agree 100% that Pride Toronto should criticize TD Bank. You shouldn’t have as a sponsor someone who is harming trans people. Or, if you do, at the very least make it clear that you are against the policy.

    The rest of this article is conjecture, though. Why don’t trans people of colour volunteer? You don’t know. How can they fix a problem if they don’t know what it is? Wasn’t it your job to find out?

    Now if you did find out, and Pride TO balked at making changes, then I would be 100% behind you. But you just have a question for them—a question that it seems you were supposed to answer.

    The same situation with queer ASL interpreters. Even if, well into the past, Pride Toronto had done something to alienate them, is that (1) really the fault of the current board, and, (2) possible to fix if they don’t know what it is? It seems like Pride, faced with a tough situation, did the right thing: they brought in interpreters from other places. You have no evidence that anyone on the current board has done anything to alienate anyone from the deaf communities.

    Finally, as to the Dyke March and accessibility, the benefit of having a big organisation like Pride Toronto is that you get the sponsorship money. You seem to want to have it both ways: they should have hired a person to focus on accessibility for more than 3 months; they should also have no money from sponsors. These two statements are mutually exclusive without some other source of major revenue. If Pride Toronto is misspending its money, please show us exactly where and how you would like it spent; don’t criticize them for raising money and then criticize them for not having enough.

    Pride Toronto is a sell-out organisation. True. They get sponsorship money to hire police officers & ASL interpreters, get permits, and bring in speakers. And, yes, throw parties that then raise money for the various charities they partner with. If none of that is important to you, don’t take it. But if you do take it, the permits and the police officers and the ASL translators and the charity fundraisers, you can’t then refuse to wear the logo, like last year’s Dyke march attempted to.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Friday, 2015.07.17 at 20:28

      I thought I was pretty clear with those answers in the letter.

      • Rolyn
        Wednesday, 2015.07.22 at 14:03

        No. It’s wasn’t.

      • D.I. Harris
        Saturday, 2015.08.15 at 01:00

        You know, looking back on this, I think my comment was wrong.

        I stand by all of the specific criticisms I made. I still think your post was overly vague and based on conjecture about a lot of the problems you specified, calling out Pride for things that we don’t know they did wrong, and for things that your solution would make more of a problem.

        But I think that I saw that, and overreacted emotionally, missing your point for all the little quibbles.

        If a grassroots pride, which includes people of colour and trans* people starts up, and really represents their interests, I’m willing and ready to support it, and break up with Pride.

        • Christin Scarlett Milloy
          Tuesday, 2015.10.06 at 15:58

          Bravo.

  2. Joe Clark
    Friday, 2015.07.17 at 20:18

    Transgenders will not be satisfied until they have destroyed the legitimately constituted gay and lesbian community, to which they pretend membership. And you’re halfway to your goal.

    No one will miss another transgender apologist who literally cannot be satisfied.

    Three fun facts, though: Violence is violence and disagreement isn’t; putting transwymmynz of colour in charge is racist and sexist, not least because they’re men; and the failed Dispute Resolution Process refused to investigate a complaint against TD.

    Please have a nice life without us. You seem to hate us anyway.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Friday, 2015.07.17 at 20:30

      Okay everyone, pack up and go home. The cis white gay man has spoken.

      • Saturday, 2015.07.18 at 12:28

        Are you sure ‘Joe Clark’ isn’t actually a TERF lawyer from Baltimore, MD?

        • Christin Scarlett Milloy
          Saturday, 2015.07.18 at 15:46

          He is a known quantity in Toronto. He used to spew his hate-speech filth on Daily XTRA’s comments section, until he was banned, and his vitriol was possibly one of the main reasons XTRA ultimately abandoned their comments section.

          He is also islamophobic, and occasionally rants about Sharia law.

  3. Victoria Roth
    Friday, 2015.07.17 at 21:04

    Thank you for speaking the truth.

  4. DeafQueer
    Friday, 2015.07.17 at 23:34

    As a Deaf Queer in Toronto – many of the interpreters who volunteer for Pride are amazing, wonderful people and interpreters. There are at least 3 who have zero business working as an interpreters period – at all – and who the Deaf community repeatedly complain about and yet year after year, there they are. Basically – not all of them are great and some of the interpreters are legitimately terrible. Like the Deaf people can’t understand level of terrible. Just sayin’…I support your move completely! Just wanted to clarify this :-)

    • Jennifer
      Monday, 2015.07.20 at 09:00

      Are the terps all volunteers? That’s probably the problem right there – if an organization relies solely on volunteers to do a professional’s job, well, you get what you pay for. Certified terps are trained to leave their bias at the door, among other things, and have a right to be paid for their time.

      • Christin Scarlett Milloy
        Monday, 2015.07.20 at 12:33

        No, the interpreters are paid, not volunteer.

        • DeafQueer
          Monday, 2015.07.20 at 14:11

          My understanding is that the stage interpreters are paid, the roaming ones are volunteer. It’s the paid ones that are repeatedly hired that we take issue with and have been fighting Pride on for years.

  5. Jonathan
    Saturday, 2015.07.18 at 19:39

    There is hardly a solid fact in this entire rant and you defeat whatever validity your argument has by being inflammatory and divisive for no concrete reason. This, sadly, is where activism is taking us lately. Personal issues you may have with Pride Toronto don’t constitute widespread systemic prejudice in the community or in the Pride organization. This is nothing more than a pathetic, sad, self-centered attention grab, with the equivalent validity of a child’s temper tantrum

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Saturday, 2015.07.18 at 21:12

      Perhaps “the widespread systemic prejudice in the community or in the Pride organization” is simply easier for you to ignore than it is for me.

  6. Léon
    Saturday, 2015.07.18 at 19:43

    Thank you for posting this and from my perspective (I am a transmale immigrant who is 21 years old), I believe pride has been disappointing as a transperson of colour as well. People quickly become defensive before offering peace, which is strange to me. I am from Amman, Jordan, but I have lived in Toronto since I was a toddler. I grew up in North York/East end, a bit away from pride while I was young.

    However when I finally attended my first Pride ever, it was Toronto World Pride’s Trans March. As an attendee of only 2014 and 2015 Toronto Trans March events, I cannot speak for how this city’s Pride management has treated earlier years, but from where I stand, I agree wholeheartedly with everything the author of this open letter has communicated from what I am reading here.

    Get your act together Toronto Pride !

    sincerely, Léon.

    • carmel buttery
      Sunday, 2015.07.19 at 09:35

      In the hood since76′ parade by my front on bloor
      Safes place for a teen in 69′ was mama coopers
      As a toddler my son playedpool w/the boys
      But in the last 10 yrs my daughter would not come up church the harassing by dealers in front of 519
      Non stop & walk on the other side not much better
      When the white guys take over
      It’s not just the community that holds hands
      They pha can break everthing they touch

  7. ian
    Sunday, 2015.07.19 at 08:56

    I think its definitely time to bring back the word – gay for gay pride, or LGBT2…Pride – white washing the name for acceptance has run its course.

  8. Emiton Fordrama
    Sunday, 2015.07.19 at 21:49

    Christin,

    You’re a great person. My only wish was that you were more strategic with how you protest and how you decided to make a difference in the lives of Trans* people in Toronto and in Canada. Sometimes you come off a bit threatening, I understand you mean well, but your actions; they’re a bit harsh. Not everyone will always agree, and not everyone will always behave in the same interest of yourself, but it is a effective and strategic protest, if you take these points into consideration and play your cards right. Yeah FUCK BUCK ANGEL – but at the end of the day, he’s actually doing things to help the Trans* community. Remember, he used to be an oppressed woman too once upon a time ago. Our fight as queer people is not with one another, but with all those Transphobic, Homophobic, Racist and Classist people that still HATE us. Yes, they still exist. So before we start creating fights between each other, let’s remember that there’s still an enemy out there. One that hates us all.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Monday, 2015.07.20 at 12:36

      He did threaten my girlfriend with physical violence on social media, and then grab her without her permission when we met him in person. He should have been banned from Pride for those actions, and he wasn’t.

      In the past, he has outed a famous trans woman without her consent, and made statements to the media victim-blaming trans women for violence they suffer if they don’t disclose their statuses to cis men.

      These are legitimate concerns. Buck Angel is transmisogynist and should not be welcome at Pride.

  9. Avery S
    Monday, 2015.07.20 at 09:16

    I’m a trans female – granted, I’m able-bodied and not of colour. I appreciate that most of us will never experience or see what actually goes on at meetings and discussions with Pride Toronto – and it is pretty clear that “Pride” overall does not encompass the needs to the Trans community. This is not isolated to Toronto Pride.

    We are fortunate in Toronto to have a protest march at all that coincides with the overall Pride week – one that actually gets acknowledged and publicized as part of the overall Pride schedule.

    Is it perfect? FAR from it. Is Pride Week just a advertisers’ party? Yep. Can we still use it as a platform to raise awareness of transgender issues? I’m pretty sure we can.

    The entire GSRM community is great at in-fighting. We do it all the time – we keep adding more and more letters to the LGBTQQIP2SAA initials because smaller factions don’t believe they are getting the attention they desire.

    It’s sad that we have to specifically fight for “trans people of colour” and “trans people with disabilities”.. and this is just the white chick speaking, but do we need to separate ‘black trans people’ from ‘trans people of colour’ and make them unique groups as well?

    This shouldn’t be a contest of who is more marginalized than the next person – we need to fight for trans rights first and foremost. We are all facing a struggle as trans-identified individuals, regardless of race, orientation, disability, etc. Lets get the world on-board with the basic concept that we are all equal and our gender identities are legitimate.

    Want to invoke bigger change? Convince more people to get involved and volunteer. Make our voices louder than the corporate overlords… But most people just don’t care enough to invest the time and effort.. And the people that claim to care resign when things don’t go their way.

    I understand the frustration.. but frankly it’s immature and poorly thought out. If you believe Pride Toronto doesn’t care about the trans community and would rather it fizzle out – you just gave in to their master plan.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Monday, 2015.07.20 at 12:33

      In fact I believe the Trans and Dyke communities should organize their own marches independent of Pride Toronto, and I intend to support this movement when it happens.

    • Rolyn
      Wednesday, 2015.07.22 at 14:07

      Perfect response. Thank YOU!

  10. Tom Hooper
    Monday, 2015.07.20 at 10:34

    This in no way is meant to detract from the main point of this article – it’s excellent and necessary. But I keep hearing about these “glory days” of pride back in 1981 and it leaves me scratching my head. I think 35 years has made the community susceptible to nostalgia.

    Pride in 1981, and indeed the whole fight over bathhouses, was about the right for (largely white) cis men to have gay sex. Lesbians were separated from the main organizing groups, and Trans issues were hardly recognized.

    I’m not trying to condemn our history – I see it in it’s appropriate context. I’m proud of those days, and I’m proud it’s the subject of my doctoral research. But I think there are more problematic similarities to 1981 (that are affecting pride’s inclusiveness today) than is being alcknowledged. 1981 wasn’t corporate, but it was almost exclusively devoted to police harassment and the right for cis men to have sex with each other in bathhouses.

    • shona fraser
      Tuesday, 2015.07.21 at 23:25

      Ah yes .. the real reason why we have Pride. It’s all about who wants to fk each other…

      Am I right? Hmmm?

      Nah … it’s more than fking, and we all know it. Wish it were that simple.

  11. shona fraser
    Tuesday, 2015.07.21 at 23:18

    Did I see the word bisexual? It’s ok if it’s not there, we are kind of used to people not really recognizing we exist. We are often lopped into the word “queer” as that’s most people’s comfort level. I am not speaking for all my fellow bisexuals. Just me, and the experience I have had, and have seen within my own community.

    Thats why we have our own day in September!

    Now then, about all this Pride Toronto sucks talk : unfortunately, they are the only game in town when it comes to huge, massive all things “queer,” festival. (dang that LGBTQQT2IAA is hard to remember sometimes…lol)

    What other solution is there? A new group to pop up and say, “Hey, lets have our own, festival?” Or, is this what Pride Toronto is trying to avoid?

    For your service to our wonderful, rainbow community, thanks for being there Christian. Yes, you worked with the Trans community. But, from what I read, you had a hand, or at least, an ear on many other aspects of Pride.

    I can honestly tell you, that Pride Toronto didn’t always suck. They gave my little idea a voice. That voice became Family Pride. Those, were good days. They saw that families have the same rights as anyone to enjoy the festival.

    And to the troll .. eff off already! NOBODY actually cares.

    Thanks for reading. BTW : my words are mine, and mine alone. If offense was found by your eyes as you read, I can assure you, I did my best to speak as generally and calmly as possible.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Trademarking Pride | Pride Ontario on Thursday, 2015.07.23 at 16:42

    […] joined the team in March of 2014. In the resignation letter, posted online, Milloy […]

  2. […] with the resignation of Christin Milloy Team Lead, Trans Pride, Pride Toronto. Milloy in a open letter accused the organizers of selling out to commercial interests and placing those concerns above the […]

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Christin Milloy