Recently, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery made the decision to step away from Pride Durham in organizing RMG Fridays: Pride.
The RMG is committed to building and maintaining safe and accessible space so that the arts can be shared and enjoyed with the entire community. We also works closely with members of our communities, representative organizations, and groups when developing programming and exhibitions to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community.
At a recent meeting held by Pride Durham, members of our queer and racialized communities came forward to express their concerns and explain their requirements for safe space, including their stance on uniformed police walking in the parade. Pride Durham made a decision to move forward with plans that oppose those needs. Doing so holds the potential to compromise safe space and excludes those voices from the upcoming celebration. This does not align with the RMG’s values.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery believes Pride is a celebration of resistance and resilience, differences and the vibrancy that come with being queer. Though intimately linked at times, Pride is about finding yourself not your profession. We invite the entire community to come together, whether in celebration or support, as the people they were born as.
We also understand that the uniform may be viewed as a symbol of years of oppression and the enforcement of laws that oppress many queer and racialized peoples. While the police are invited to participate in plain clothes, the presence of uniforms may be a barrier to access for many.
We hope to work with Pride Durham in the future, in ways that are safe, respectful, and healing for the community.
To learn more about the upcoming RMG Fridays: Pride event click here.