Who Are We?
Queers Crash the Beat is a project and collective formed by a rag-tag group of Toronto-based queers in response to historical and ongoing failures in policing.
We believe in the values of queer pleasure, of liberation, and of harm reduction. This necessarily places us in opposition to racist and homophobic practices of police in the Greater Toronto Area, at the institutional, individual, and cultural level.
Also central to our project is a commitment to queer identity and activism as the driving political and creative force for our work. As queers working against the long history of violence, oppression, and coercion by the police, we share an understanding that:
We oppose the policing of consensual sexuality and pleasure, which has long been the chosen target against which police have enacted homophobic violence and abuse. Queer sexuality in private and in public threatens the straight, patriarchal society which attempts to contain and subdue us. An intersectional approach to queer and sexual liberation is a necessary challenge to this order.
Organizing against police is a shared and historical struggle, and the groups and individuals most affected by discriminatory policing are also the people who have historically led the resistance against state violence: black people, Indigenous people, people of colour, transwomen and other femmes, people living with HIV, poor folks, drug users and psychiatric survivors.
Our goals begin at holding police accountable for their actions, and continue through and beyond aspirations for a world without police or any militarized state, and where queers, people of colour and other marginalized groups are not subject to the targeted abuses inherent to the criminal justice system.
We believe in a diversity of tactics to respond to police misconduct and institutional racism and homophobia in the criminal justice system, including: public confrontations of power through direct action, outreach and education, advocating and lobbying to politicians and powerbrokers, and developing ongoing solidarity with and accountability to allied groups.
As a collective of individuals, our lived experiences and identities are unique but overlapping, intersecting and always shifting. There are inherent power imbalances and differences in the group related to race, gender, age, ability, class and income, and history — and it is our ongoing project to acknowledge and respond to these dynamics with care and consideration.
We are a changing and non-hierarchical organizing crew working in collaboration and in solidarity with other groups to realize true justice for queer folks. Because we are a diffuse and changing group of individuals, with different skills and approaches to these issues, the shape of our activism is perpetually changing. However, our shared commitment a queer, intersectional resistance to police violence stays at the core of our reason to be.