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Tonight's Night March seeks to put focus on LGBTQ issues over commercialism

Last Updated Jun 28, 2016 at 4:54 am EST

A Queer Rising's 'Take Back the Night' gay rights march in New York City. PHOTO: Getty Images

A group that believes this weekend’s Pride Parade has become too commercialized is taking to the streets tonight to put the politics back into the LGBTQ movement.

The fifth-annual Night March will begin with a rally at 8:30 p.m. at the northwest corner of Church and Alexander streets, followed by a march at 9 p.m. on an undisclosed route through the streets of Toronto.

According to a release by Queer Ontario, the march is for community-based LGBTQ people “sans corporations, corporate logos, politicians and a phalanx of police services.” It gets back to the grassroots of the movement, inviting people to “bring their presence, their voices, their issues and their concerns as a means of ensuring a political space is created for critical expression, one that has been lost in the overly commercialized Pride Parade.”

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Queer Ontario chastises the July 3 Pride Parade for “favouring gaining tourist dollars over historical significance,” rather than sticking to its roots of commemorating the New York City Stonewall riots that symbolized the beginnings of the modern-day liberation movement.

“There is something special and liberating about pedestrians taking over the streets of a downtown urban centre, such as Toronto, without barricades, without permits and without Pride Toronto overseeing messaging. Night March is a politicized act of defiance that takes us back to our roots of how the gay liberation movement began over 45 years ago,” said Queer Ontario founder Nick Mulé.

The Stonewall riots occurred in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that targeted members of the gay community. A year later, the first coordinated Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, and the Pride movement was born.

According to Queer Ontario, this year’s march will have unique significance in light of the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub earlier this month.

“It will memorialize the loss of 49 lives and demand the end of hatred and violence towards LGBTQ people, racialized populations, all women, the differently abled and call for acceptance of difference over simple blaming of religious groups,” the release states. “Marching as a collective at night symbolizes a call to end the intimidation and violence directed at LGBTQ people.”

(To view video on mobile, click here)


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