Chief Takes Pride In City

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service Published: 9:13 a.m. June 24, 2015

Chief Mark Saunders welcomed the LGBTQ community to headquarters to celebrate Pride Week.

A man in TPS uniform embraces a man in a clerical collar
Chief Mark Saunders with Metropolitan Community Church Rev. Tom Decker, a former Toronto Police Service officer

“Looking around the room i can say we have come a long way,” said the Chief, speaking to the crowd gathered at Police Headquarters to celebrate. “Thirty-three years ago this simply would not have happened, the fact that we are celebrating at police headquarters is such a strong testament to who we are as Torontonians."

The Chief said inclusion is an important part of Toronto's identity. 

“The fact that we love to walk the talk, that we love diversity, that we understand diversity and the role it plays in making it the most harmonious city in the world,” said the Chief. 

The Chief, who will be marching in the parade, added that Pride week is an important week because it showcases the city of Toronto. 

“It gives us an opportunity for millions of people to come and celebrate with us, not just the GTA but the world. A place where we get to showcase the value that our LGBTQ community provides to the city,” he said. 

A group of people on stairs inside a lobby, some wearing TPS uniform
Service and community members join Chief Mark Saunders for a group picture on the stairs at police headquarters

Four students were also awarded $1,000 prizes from the Service as part of the LGBTQ Youth Awards.

One of the award winners, 18-year-old Angela Wang, who was the President for the Gay Straight Alliance at her school, said each of the students worked to combat homophobia and transphobia.

“We are just a group of students who fight against homophobia, transphobia and forms of bullying… teaching students about everything we have to do about being a more diverse and inclusive and accepting environment for students,” said Wang, who plans to use her award money to pay for university tuition.

Constable Danielle Bottineau said that Pride Week allows the Toronto Police Service to increase awareness and contributions made by members of the LGBTQ community. 

“The event also reinforces the Services commitment to the LGBTQ community, enhancing the excellent rapport between the community and the Service,” added Bottineau.

A group of four women, two wearing TPS court uniforms
Service members and the community gathered in the lobby of police headquarters for the Chief's Pride Reception

In their effort to reach out the LGBTQ community, the Toronto Police Service has partnered with Crime Stoppers in a campaign to reach out to people to report homophobic and transphobic acts. Stop Homophobia and Stop Transphobia cards have been distributed in the Church and Wellesley area in time for Pride Week in hopes that the Trans community will use Crime Stoppers as an avenue to report crimes.

Anyone who wishes to report a crime anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at  222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World. 

In recognition of the importance of having out public figures, such as police officers, the LGBTQ ISN held a lunch and learn session at 14 Division where  Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke about her own journey and being a gay public figure.

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