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LGBT police officer 'disheartened' by Pride Toronto decision to ban police

A Toronto Police officer and member of the city's LGBT community says police should be involved in Toronto's Pride celebration, despite a vote this week by Pride TO banning police floats and booths at events.

Officer says conversation with Black Lives Matter and Pride TO needs to be a 'dialogue'

Danielle Bottineau takes a photo with some revellers at a Toronto Pride march. (Twitter/@PsdboyV)

Danielle Bottineau says she's disheartened by Pride Toronto's decision to limit police involvement in its events.

Bottineau, a Toronto Police Service constable and a member of the city's LGBT community, has participated in Pride for the past seven years as a uniformed officer and an LGBT liaison on the force.

"I've been on a rollercoaster of emotions," Bottineau told Metro Morning on Thursday.

"I'm saddened by it for sure. I'm disheartened by it."

The decision to ban police in uniform effectively from Pride Toronto events comes after the organization's annual general meeting on Tuesday.

The item was not on the agenda, but was added at the last minute after requests from the crowd. The request was on a list of demands that Black Lives Matter Toronto issued to the organization this past summer during the Pride parade.

Black Lives Matter Toronto protesters block the Pride parade in July 2016. The list of demands the activist group presented to Pride Toronto during the parade have now been accepted. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

"I'm not discounting the voices that were in that space. I'm not discounting the voices of Black Lives Matter. I think those are important conversations that we need to have moving forward," Bottineau said. 

"But I don't know that this is going to remedy any of that in regards to building a relationship.

"It needs to be a dialogue, not a monologue," she said.

Police involvement important to Pride

Bottineau said police officers should be visible participants in Pride events because their participation sends an important message to young members of the community. 

"I'm a proud out gay woman, but I'm also a proud member of Toronto police," she said.

"It's important for that 16-year-old kid that's in that gymnasium, that is struggling to come out, for them to see that."

When asked if Bottineau would attend Pride in 2017 out of uniform, she hesitated. "I don't want to make a rash decision," she said. 

"It's been a very difficult 24 hours." 

With files from Metro Morning