Pride Flags Flown Across City
For the first time, Pride Flags were raised at all public-facing Toronto Police buildings in support of LGBTQ2S+ communities.
Formal and small-scale events were held across the city to raise the flags with groups of TPS members, both police officers and civilians, celebrating Pride Month.
The largest event was held at 51 Division, where dozens of community members joined police officers, many who identify as members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, joined in celebrating Pride Month.
Superintendent Chris Kirkpatrick said it’s an important time to listen and learn from each other to build trust.
“Today is a symbol of our continued effort to build trust and more importantly our continued desire to serve the community,” he said.
Neighbourhood Community Officer Sergeant Henry Dyck said he takes solace as a gay man seeing the Pride flag at his workplace.
“It tells me I’m supported even though I’m not the same as you and that this is a safe place to be. I can only imagine that as a child or when I got hired as a new police officer, had I ever seen a Pride flag flying,” said Dyck, noting that many places in the world don’t enjoy the freedom to celebrate inclusion and there are many incidents of homophobic and racist speech happening close to home.
Alisha Stubbs, who resigned as a Norwich, Ontario city councilor, after the city created a bylaw forbidding non-government flags, including Pride flags, on municipal properties, joined the celebration at 51 Division along with members of her Oxford County community. 51 Division Inspector Kathlin Seremetkovski helped raise the flag alongside Stubbs.
City Councillor Chris Moise and members of the Toronto Police Association also joined the celebration.
The Pride flag has been flying at Headquarters since May 17 recognizing the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
LGBTQ2S+ Liaison Officer Constable Robert Chevalier said having flags raised across the city is an important message about inclusion.
“I want to thank for those who came before me, people made it much easier for me to get into policing as an LGBT member and I also commit to do my part to continue to advocate for those who feel left behind,” Chevalier said.
“It shows we offer support to our communities and a safe space – whether people want to seek out a safe space or coming to report a hate crime – they know they can do that with the Toronto Police Service,” Chevalier said.