Some Pride parade attendees plan to wear black this year following arrest of alleged serial killer
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 13, 2018 3:37PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:55PM EDT
There is growing momentum behind a grassroots campaign to get members of the LGBTQ community to wear black to this summer’s Pride parade following the arrest of an alleged serial killer who is charged with the murders of six men with ties to the gay village.
Toronto resident Jesse Lutersz has set up a Facebook event to encourage those attending the annual parade to wear black in order to “honour those we have recently lost, as well as those who we may never find or identify.”
Lutersz first posted the event to Facebook on March 5 and since then about 148 people have confirmed their attendance while another 687 have said they are interested in participating.
“Pride is our community’s largest event, it’s where we stand shoulder to shoulder with people from around the world to celebrate how far we’ve come and to acknowledge how far we still have to go. This year the parade takes on a tremendous significance as the largest event our community will have since the news broke of a serial killer targeting us,” Lutersz told CP24.com via email. “By organizing this passive demonstration we are able to effectively spread a message against violence while also showing solidarity with those we’ve lost to it. The Pride parade is usually quite colourful and we think the juxtaposition of many folks wearing black will send a strong message.”
Police first arrested Bruce McArthur on Jan. 18 after previously denying suggestions that a serial killer may have been operating in the village.
To date McArthur has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder but police have said that additional charges are likely and earlier this month they released an image of an unidentified deceased man who is also believed to be a victim..
Lutersz said that while there is “a lot of hurt and a lot of unanswered questions that need to be addressed” regarding the police handling of the McArthur case, he said that the idea of wearing black to the pride parade is more about supporting the “families and friends of those we’ve lost” rather than delivering a political message.
Lutersz added that many members of the LGBTQ community felt that they needed to find a way to honour those they have lost while alos beginning to “process” the shocking violence that has come to light in recent months.
“It’s a simple, effective way for the community to show our solidarity with one another and to let everyone watching around the world know that these events will not be forgotten and that we will do everything we can to ensure something like this never happens again,” he said.
The campaign to get people to wear black to the annual pride parade comes as discussions continue between the police and Pride Toronto about whether officers will be allowed to march in uniform this year after being banned from doing so last year. That ban was made in response to a list of demands by Black Lives Matter - Toronto.
Earlier this month, Pride Toronto Executive Director Olivia Nuamah told the Globe and Mail that tension over police participation in the parade remains a “significant issue.”