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First responders standing by Toronto police in Pride parade participation

Toronto’s first responders say they will be standing with Toronto police when it comes to this year’s Pride parade participation.

Last year, Black Lives Matter stopped the parade with a list of demands that included police being excluded from marching in this year’s parade in uniform.

While Pride executives agreed to the demands earlier this year, the decision is not sitting well first responders.

“Being in uniform is part of who you are, it’s a career,” said Frank Ramagnano, President of the Toronto Professional Firefighters Association, Local 3888.

“We have an issue with the message that you can come out of the closet but your uniform has to stay in the closet. We don’t agree with that so it would be difficult to contribute financially as we have in the past.”

Ramagnano says Toronto Fire is putting that cash into a first responders party alongside EMS and Toronto Police.

“We support our police officers, we believe that they should be able to march in uniform. At the same token we still support our Toronto firefighters that would like to march, so what we have decided is to have our own event partnered with EMS and we partnered with the Toronto police association, that’s going to be a first responders party.”

Toronto Fire plans to have fire trucks and members participate in this year’s parade but they will not be giving handouts.

“We don’t have an issue with any of our members that would like to be in it, but we are not backing it as we have done in the past because we have decided to do this other event that’s inclusive of EMS and police being there.”

According to EMS, they will be marching in the parade but as a stand alone as members of the City of Toronto.