Thousands march and dance in New York's Gay Pride parade

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Toronto's police force was first barred in 2016 after activist group Black Lives Matter temporarily halted the parade, demanding uniformed police, their floats and cruisers be excluded because of troubles between officers and the black community.

This year, Toronto police came under fire from the LGBTQ community for accusations that they failed to take the disappearances of gay men seriously for years - until January, when they arrested 66-year-old landscaper Bruce McArthur, who now faces eight first-degree murder charges.

Victoria cheered in the streets with the crowds, waving her rainbow flag high.

But everyone from dignitaries to organizers and spectators said the recent tensions weren't far from their minds.

She marched alongside with federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who pointed out that Pride is a "revolutionary movement to take space for a community that has always been marginalized". Pride lost $1.3-million previous year, I believe largely due to the police ban, but we'll have to wait until the fall when the audited statements come out.

Still, I hate to rain on Pride's parade - yet again - but it sure seemed like the police ban encouraged people to take a rain check this year.

Her sign said what was on everyone's minds, most especially those who watched the parade from afar, choosing to stay away once again because of ridiculous ban on police participation in uniform in the parade, a ban that started past year.

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More than 120 groups marched along the rainy downtown route in this year's parade - but uniformed officers are not among them. "There's been concerns around a trust that's broken down", he said, calling for the end of carding. Premier-designate Doug Ford did not attend Sunday's parade, and had previously indicated to reporters that he would have considered going if uniformed police were allowed to participate. So much love on these streets.

"To walk by the Stonewall Inn when I was at the height of my adrenaline and then bring that energy up into the city, it's giving me chills just thinking about it", Westbrook said. "It is our job to contribute to that and bring people together".

"It's very important that we are here (in the parade)", McCaffrey said.

Instead, he shimmied and yelled the words to popstar Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" with a group of friends in bedazzled cowboy hats and helped a friend paint her face into a rainbow.

"The LGBTQ community needs celebrations like this and ways to come together when we face hard situations, which is exactly what we've been facing", he said. "This is our time to show how strong we are and that we are there for each other".

Yet, despite being told they were not welcome in what is supposed to be an "inclusive" parade, Toronto Police were there on their bikes and on foot providing security - some $500,000 worth of security to Pride - that will be absorbed by taxpayers.

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