Toronto

Pride Toronto launches new safety campaign prompted by alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

Until We’re Safe​ is a new, week-long community engagement campaign prompted by the police's handling of investigations into deaths and disappearances in Toronto's gay village and high levels of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community.

Pride parade will also include moment of silence and black march

Until We’re Safe​ is a new, week-long community engagement campaign aimed at increasing safety within the LGBT community. UntilWereSafe.org, pictured above, is part of the campaign's online presence. (untilweresafe.org)

Pride Toronto is launching a new safety campaign this week, prompted by the handling of police investigations into deaths and disappearances in Toronto's gay village — including the eight people investigators believe are the victims of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.

"What the Bruce McArthur affair highlighted to the community is that they have felt unsafe for well over two decades. For in that time, people have been murdered, assaulted and there has been very little redress to be experienced as people suffer," Pride Toronto executive director Olivia Nuamah said.

Until We're Safe is a week-long community engagement campaign, led by 15 LGBT organizations, which will run across various social media platforms.

The UntilWereSafe.org website  — a central feature of the campaign — shares the stories of 24 members of the LGBT community who have been victims of homophobia or hate crimes and highlights local resources that people can turn to for help.​

"The campaign means to highlight how members of the community don't feel safe ... to highlight the fact that you are still the object of harassment and violence simply for identifying as a member of the community. And if you're a person of colour, that is even three times [more likely]," Nuamah said. 

As part of the campaign, Pride Toronto will also be re-introducing the minute of silence during next month's Pride parade. According to the organization, the moment of silence is to honour those in the community who have been affected by HIV/AIDS, homophobic and transphobic laws, and hate crimes.

In addition, a Black March has been planned for the end of the parade, normally known for its rainbow colours. The march focuses on bringing attention to the eight individuals murdered in and around the gay village over the last several years.

At the end of this summer's Pride Parade, the community is asked to wear black and march in silence to remember those who were killed. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Pride Toronto is asking the public to honour these victims by wearing black throughout the Pride festival. The barriers will be opened at the end of the parade and the community will be invited to march in silence, wearing black. 

This year's Pride parade is on June 24 and will travel from the corner of Church and Bloor streets to Yonge-Dundas Square. ​

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