Standing Together with 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Office of the Chief

To mark the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Transphobia, Toronto Police hosted a panel discussion at McDonald’s Place with theme: No One Left Behind: Equality, Freedom & Justice for All.

“It is a call for unity and only through solidarity can we create a world without injustice with no one left behind,” said Chief Myron Demkiw. “This is particularly important in our current social climate, globally and here in Toronto where we are sadly seeing a rise in hate crimes over the last year. This rise has impacted Service members of the 2SLGBTQI+ communities.”

May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its classification of diseases in 1990.

The PRIDE-Internal Support Network organized the event with co-chairs Sergeants Henry Dyck and Robert Chevalier.

“We are seeing an increase in city in hate crimes against our community,” said Dyck. “Our ISN felt it was an important time to be able to step up and provide stories. For those people who have a bias in their hearts or even don’t know about the community, we hope they have an opportunity to listen to the stories of people and the discrimination they faced and how they have overcome it in a positive way that can change hearts and minds.”

Chevalier is also the Service’s 2SLGBTQI+ Liaison Officer.

“You will think that in 2024, we will be having a celebration and let people be just who they are,” he noted. “Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone.”

The panelists included former professional hockey player Brock McGillis who was among the first professional hockey players to come out as gay, Constable Barb Piatkowski and Toronto City Councillor Chris Moise.

Piatkowski was sworn in in March 2021.

“I have faced discriminatory practices before I joined the Service in terms of employment policies that were harmful,” she said. “I was a victim and the damage is immeasurable. There are a lot of good people that were lost and a lot of potential that was never realized.”

McGillis said education and awareness are the key.

“For many people who are not part of those communities, they see inclusion as potentially their rights being taken away or something being taken from them as opposed to it is not,” he said. “It is just we all exist and co-exist. I think people fear change and what they don’t know.”



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