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Racial Terror in Toronto's Gay Village: A Critical Race analysis of the Bruce McArthur case and police inclusion in Toronto Pride

  • Author / Creator
    Semaan, David
  • This thesis undertakes a parallel reading of the Bruce McArthur serial killings of predominantly racialized, queer men in the Toronto gay village and debates about police participation in Toronto Pride. This reading illuminates a homonationalist, state-making project that reasserts white dominance in LGBT social movements. My comparative analysis demonstrates how these cases, when read together, echo racial divisions and political whitewashing of queer and homophile social movements in earlier as well as contemporary mobilizations. I then conduct a parallel analysis of the 2016 conflict between Pride Toronto and Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLM-TO), that has permanently shaped debates on the intersections of race and queer identity in Canada. Analysing this case alongside that of McArthur’s engages with the politics of racial exclusion that has normalized Pride’s agenda of institutional inclusion as representative of queer identity formation in Canada. Reading these cases together provides critical insight into processes of whiteness and homonationalist politics that dominate the LGBTQ2IA+ political stage. The thesis engages with the history of Canadian multiculturalism that displaces critical inquiries into questions of race, and the persistent importance of colour blindness in shaping national identity through queer tolerance. A critical race analysis of the Bruce McArthur case articulates an alternative narrative of racial violence that moves beyond a single narrative of disturbed pathology to investigate details of police misconduct that fostered inaction. The intent of this analysis is to draw out the historical relevance of McArthur’s murders as part of a longer history of racially motivated predatory violence toward queer people of colour.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2020
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-5tc8-vn43
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.