So Rob Ford doesn’t like the gay pride parade? So what?

Why gay rights aren’t endangered by Toronto’s mayor

by Emma Teitel

I’m gay, which is inconvenient—not for the obvious reasons—but for the sobering reality that many people who know my sexual orientation automatically assume I identify with everyone who shares it. Take the Toronto Pride Parade for example. So Mayor Rob Ford doesn’t want to march in the parade. So what? Call me old fashioned, but since when did our mayor’s civic duties include being hosed down with super soakers by men in diamond-studded cod pieces? Tolerance is a two-way street. If you want the socially conservative mayor to shake your hand, put on some pants.

But Toronto’s left has spoken: gay pride—assless chaps and all—is forever bound to gay rights, and Ford’s pending absence at the annual parade is a direct admission that he considers such rights revocable. In other words, if Ford is not for gay pride, he is definitely not for gay rights—or at the very least, as Pride co-chair Francisco Alvarez suggests, his actions jeopardize them. “There have been a lot of hard-won and incremental gains over the years, for lesbians and gays in this country,” Alvarez told the Toronto Star last week, “but they are all easily reversible.”

Rob Ford is not going to reverse my gains. He is going to the cottage. Apparently, though, this makes him an unapologetic homophobe, whose acquiescence to family tradition is nothing more than a convenient way to snub the gay community. Or is it? Let’s examine the possibilities:

1. Ford really wants to go to the cottage. He has no qualms about assless chaps or nipple tassels; he just likes beer and belly-flopping better. He recognizes that going to Pride is a mayoral tradition (though a relatively new one), but he simply can’t resist the call of his own wild. What does this make him? A poor politician? Maybe (certainly one who isn’t interested in garnering new votes or ingratiating himself to a community that’s not yet onboard with his policies). A Canadian? Yes. A homophobe? Probably not.

2. Ford actually wouldn’t mind going to the parade, but he’s definitely grossed out by assless chaps and nipple tassels, and maybe even the thought of homosexual sex itself. He is not the devil incarnate. He’s just kind of delicate. Like a lot of parents (unless your kids are named Storm or Jazz), Ford may not be comfortable in an environment that mixes free-range genitals with children buying snow cones. Does this make him a prude? Definitely. Does it make him a homophobe? No—not unless you equate disgust with discrimination. I don’t. Cringing at something doesn’t mean you think it should be prohibited. Who knows—Rob might fight to his death for your right to engage in homosexual activity. He’d just rather die than watch you do it. (Unless you’re lesbians.)

3. Ford is in fact deeply homophobic. Gay people repulse him and in his perfect world there wouldn’t be any. His refusal to attend the parade is a cynical political move designed to appease his socially conservative constituents, and as a bonus, remove himself from a “lifestyle” he finds morally repugnant. Where does that leave us? The chair of Queer Ontario’s Political Action Committee, Casey Oraa, told the Star Ford should “own up to his homophobia,” and tell the world exactly how he feels about gays. Oraa and like-minded activists want the mayor to come out as a bigot. Shouldn’t they be proud that a powerful person is afraid to admit he’s homophobic? When gays can come out of the closet, and homophobes have to step inside it, isn’t that cause to celebrate? Frankly, I don’t want Ford to tell the world how he really feels about gay people. I’d prefer he go up north.

Tubing enthusiast, shrinking violet, homophobic opportunist—or a little of each—one thing’s for sure: Rob Ford will not join ranks with the rainbow brigade this weekend. Cannibalism survivor and gay rights darling, Mel Lastman, is confident the mayor will eventually embrace the parade’s more bawdy elements, and one day get a squirt gun of his own. Maybe he will—but he’s not obliged to.

I like Pride. It’s like Spring Break without frat boys; the only time of year my girlfriend and I can kiss publicly without scandalizing or exciting anyone. But to blindly defend the parade’s more salacious and arguably sophomoric overtones—notwithstanding their context in the history of gay activism—is simply naïve. Rob Ford may be a bigoted jerk after all, but his alleged snub has been positively received by many people who are uncomfortable with the promiscuity that characterizes Pride. If Pride’s mandate is to host an epic party, then it should never change; but if its purpose is to advance gay rights—as many anti-Ford activists maintain—then perhaps it’s time for Pride to evolve with the rights it celebrates. Because until the parade looks more like an affirmation of same-sex freedoms than sex itself, important people will seem justified skipping town.




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So Rob Ford doesn’t like the gay pride parade? So what?

  1. ‘assless chaps,’ Emma????????????

    Chaps, by definition, are ‘assless.’

    It’s like calling your bra a titless bra.

    • Sleeveless tank top.
      Legless shorts.

    • I think you mean titfull bra.

  2. What you fail to acknowledge is that Ford has refused to attend ANY of the pride events. There have been many luncheons, flag raising, the day to end homophobia, there is the trans march, the dyke march and the pride march. If he can’t make it to the parade, that is understandable, but to not show up to one single event, feels like a snub. This will be my 25th pride week and pride march, and I have watched the parade go from a political march, to a much larger party…but in the 24 years I have watched and participated in the parade, I have never walked away feeling like this was a sex fest. Give me a break. Thousands of people participate in the parade, and about 50 of them may be dressed in outfits that don’t appeal to you, but please stop painting the parade as some sort of perverted event, it is not.  I feel that the corporate sponsors have taken over pride and turned it into a big party that does not always speak to me, but rather than run and complain about it, I stay active, and do my part to bring it back to it’s original grass roots. The gay community is not hurt that he is going to the cottage, we are hurt that he has not made an effort to attend anything. He doesn’t have to go to the parade, but he should have made an appearance at one of the other 10 events he was invited to. Plain and simple. 

    • Yup, excuses 1 and 2 are ruled out by the fact that, on two separate occasions, the Mayor declined to attend LGBT-related events featuring not the slightest bit of sexual content, at City Hall, on days when he was working.

      Obviously this has nothing to do with cottages or chaps, and everything to do with Ford’s disdain for gay people.

      Oh yeah, and there was that awkward moment when a reporter asked Ford if he is homophobic and he DECLINED TO ANSWER.

      • I don’t think anyone would say ‘yes, I am homophobic’, so if he declined to answer, it might have been because of who asked the question. He could very easily have answered that he was not.
        It would be the same if I asked someone if they were a moron. Just the asking is an insult, and the person asking usually could care less what the answer was.

        “Homophobia” is a term that people who support Gays and Lesbians, as a community, use to describe anyone who doesn’t support their views. It is not a term that anyone would give themselves. The connotation is that said people are in some way ‘afraid’ of gays and/or lesbians. In that sense, it’s intent is to ridicule, and try to suppress/undermine the person’s point of view.

        • Nobody would willingly call themselves racist either, but that doesn’t mean they’re not, and it doesn’t mean people of colour just made up the term to undermine them. 

          • That is true, but there are differences.

            First off, racism is not considered a mental disease. It
            also doesn’t definitely means that the racist is afraid of said race.

            “Racism:

            1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human
            character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

            2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.”

             

            This is entirely different from a ‘phobia’.

             

            Phobia:

             

            1. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific
            thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and
            reassurance that it is not dangerous.

            2. A strong fear, dislike, or aversion.

            And again, my point is that the word is thrown around enough
            as to make it useless. It would make more sense to call someone ‘anti-gay’, but
            it doesn’t carry the same ‘smear’, as it were.

            I never said that the word was made for that purpose, just that it is being used that way. Please don’t be short sighted on purpose.

        • Let’s just dissect that second paragraph.

          “”Homophobia” is a term that people… use to describe anyone who doesn’t support their views.”

          Actually, it’s not about “views”, political agendas or conspiracy theories, the traditional definition of homophobia is fear or hatred of queer people.

          “The connotation is that said people are in some way ‘afraid’ of gays and/or lesbians.”

          There. you both contradicted and corrected yourself.

          “In that sense, it’s intent is to ridicule, and try to suppress/undermine the person’s point of view.”

          Nope. In a world where queers face discrimination, assault and humiliation, anti-homophobia efforts are aimed at reducing those things. Kinda like anti-racism efforts. It’s not about suppressing the “points of view” of some people. Sheesh.

          • Yup – it’s a phobia. A fear or hatred of queer people. It’s almost a mental disease, and anyone who doesn’t tow the party line is branded with it.

            I have never been to a ‘pro-African American’ anything, so I guess I could be called racist. Heck, maybe I wouldn’t be racist, but African-American-phobic.

            Basically, the term homophobic is thrown around so much as to be useless.

          • Oh, grow up. Honest to god.

            This whole movement grew out of the violence, discrimination and hatred that used to be openly directed at queers. I trust you agree that it’s a better world now that beating up gay men is frowned upon.

            Stop whining that you’re the victim of queers because they use the word “homophobia” to describe this phenomenon of hatred. And stop claiming it’s a conspiracy to force people to “toe the party line” and stifle free speech.

            For god sake, queers used to be (and sometimes still are) murdered, assaulted, tracked, intimidated and harassed by police, abused in the workplace and on schoolyards… I know a sixtysomething gay man who told me of marching in the first Pride parades, terrified that he’d be recognized or assaulted. And he was *photographed* by Toronto Police who stationed themselves along the route. Because he was gay.

            Here, do some reading: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project/   (Note the names of 7 gay teenagers who have committed suicide so far since the project launched)

            Show some respect. And stop worrying about your right to express hate without being condemned for it.

          • You prove my point for me.

            Thank you.

          • modster99: You had a point? What the hell was it?

        • It’s a marketing term.  They just force everyone – not support them, against them, doesn’t think this is a question at all, pay no attention with a term like mental disease ‘phobia’   If they really buy political correctness – this should be correctly state as ‘ gay non-supporter’.

          BTW, I am a non-supporter.  However, I don’t afraid of them, nor I have bad feeling with them. Just like I prefer lily than rose, which do not mean I afraid of rose, or hate rose.  Therefore, stop using the ‘phobia’ term – unless gay community try to redefine the dictionary.

          • Yes, I also could not care less – gay or not – but what I dislike is the exhibitionist part of it.

    • Hi Shannon, 
      You’re right. I wrote this before it appeared Ford would miss out on every event Pride has to offer, and I should have updated it. But I’m curious…do you think he would have attended a more low-key event if the backlash against him hadn’t been so strong from the beginning? I’m not saying it’s right, but I think his silence stems from stubbornness more than hate. He attended the Jane’s Walk event and the organizer–a lesbian–said he was a lovely guest. Jane’s Walk wasn’t a gay event, mind you, but it was facilitated by a gay person; one who told The Star that she doesn’t think Ford is a homophobe. This to me proves that gay Pride and gay rights are two very different things. Maybe Ford has no problem with gay people, but he can’t stand gay politics; which is fine by me. I’m Jewish, I love being Jewish, and I’d like to marry Jewish, but I’d never go on J Date, or devote my life to the United Jewish Appeal. I think it’s roughly the same idea.  Anyway, about your ‘sex fest’ objections: Even if the majority of people watching the parade (and many marching) are fully clothed, those who aren’t make the lasting impression. And while it sucks that society can’t just let loose and let it all hang out, I think the gay community has to wrap its head around the fact that political activism loses its power when it’s coupled with the perverse–no matter how little of it is actually present. I appreciate your comment, though, and I think you’re right. I missed a vital point by not addressing Ford’s absence at every event. But for the record: I definitely saw more than 50 wrinkled bums and scrotums at the parade last year (not that there’s anything wrong with that). 

      • I also agree with your sentiment about the perversion of the Pride parade. I don’t understand it. I’m a huge supporter for gay rights, but I sort of cringe when I see some of the images coming out of the parade. I honestly don’t see the correlation between being homosexual and flaunting naked body parts around the city.

        I think that sort of behaviour does a disservice to the gay community. Why give a (alleged) homophobe like Rob Ford an excuse to justify not attending Pride? I’m not saying he’s a simple-minded man, but if he were he might be left thinking that’s the sort of behaviour all homosexual individuals engage in on a regular basis. And Emma, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you do not behave in this manner :)

        • I saw perhaps hundreds of those scrotum and wrinkled asses, and the nice piece of cock as well when visiting Germany at any park,   the puritanism and double standards of North America (Canada/USA) is sickening!!!  what I am sick and tired of is fake boobs and sexual repression while EVERYTHING is advertised with women’s asses

      • I definitely saw more than 50 wrinkled bums and scrotums at the parade last year (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

        And that, in a nutshell (so to speak) is why I  would never consider attending. It has nothing to do with gayness – I have a number of gay friends, and support gay rights. I simply think public exhibitionism, be it gay or straight, is wrong. It may well be Ford’s problem with the parade as well.

        • this is what I talk about exhibitionism? more like expressionism and in your face oh! and I am a female what you call “straight” married with children lol
           

          • Flashers are just “expressing” themselves as well, yet they get locked up for it. Keep it to the strip clubs and nudist colonies, thanks.

            The reality is, outside of this parade, anyone publicly displaying themselves in the manner a small minority of the parade participants do would get hauled in and charged.

            Publicly exposing oneself has nothing to do with gay rights. It has everything to do with trying to offend and shock others – just because they can. Until such time as the parade organizers decide to clean up this part of the parade, I’ll stay clear.

    • Thank you. I wanted to point that out too. The ‘cottage weekend’ is only part of the issue. If he were to miss that, fine. But to not take 30 minutes to attend the flag-raising event? I think it speaks volumes that he hasn’t attended a single minute of Pride.

    • Or, maybe he is trying to say that homosexuality is a non-issue in today’s society.  it happens and it is accepted. there is no need to go parading around half naked about it every summer?!

      • Haha, that would be wishful thinking by the gay community. I think it’s pretty obvious he’s not a supporter. But even if he made THAT statement … “Homosexuality is a non-issue in today’s society. I can’t be at the festivities, but I hope that doesn’t convey that I don’t support the gay community. I’m proud that Toronto is such a diverse city.”

      • That like saying women are equal now so why don’t they just shut up about their rights?  I’m guessing you’re a white male…

        • eat it

    • The flag raising – seems like that would have been an appropriate time.  Ironically he was meeting with Brian Burke at the time.  Inviting Burke to be at the event, would have been a nice gesture.

    • Just because the mayor doesnt support the concept of homosexuality, does not in anyway jeopardize what he was hired/voted in to do. He’s here to run the corporation of the city or Toronto, and whether he marches in the queer parade, the Santa parade, Caribbana or any other celebration is his business and his right.  I’m sick and tired of all the special interest groups in the GTA who think that everyone should support and their quirks, customs or whatever and that there is something wrong with those that don’t. Give him and the thousands of us like him the right to our individual choices without you judging us. HMMMM sounds like what you demand of us!!!!!!!!!

      • The problem lies in the many ways that the city bureaucracy, including the Police, subtly follow the lead of their leaders, starting with the mayor. When he deliberately snubs such a major event, including rejecting at least 10 invitations (some for events right at City Hall, where he works) it indicates a rejection of the equal rights which exist in law but still haven’t been accepted fully by society. When he got himself elected mayor he voluntarily gave up a part of his right to “individual choices”. His actions symbolize the acceptance (or rejection) of the City of Toronto. The Corporation of the City of Toronto is run by the City Management office, not by the mayor himself. He works with Council at the political/guidance level; it is the City’s administrative staff who run the corporation. The Mayor’s job is equal parts managerial (via Council) and ceremonial. The demand is put on him by his position, not by “special interest groups”. He is failing to represent an important segment of the electorate.

  3. I understand that Rob Ford coaches high school football.  I sure wouldn’t want to be the player that is gay. 

    • he has also said repeatedly that he considers a marriage to be between a man and a woman, of course , how come nobody remembers that???

  4. Let us imagine an alternate reality. Imagine that George Smitherman was elected mayor. And imagine, if you will, that there was a big ethnic religious festival – perhaps a big Italian Catholic festival celebrating the traditional family. And imagine that Smitherman declined to attend the parade or other events because of a gay wedding he had to attend.

    If the Italian religious community got all huffy about him not attending their event, how much would the wider community support them? How much would the gay community support them?

    • Do you seriously think gay people don’t attend big ethnic relgious festivals or Italian Catholic festivals?  We were raised by straight people you know.  We’ve been compromising for our families and communities all our lives.  Heterosexuals unwillingness to compromise for gays is unique to straight folks.  Own it.

    • Where I live, the Italian religious community is THE most blatantly homophobic community in the region.  The gay community is not allowed to support them.  Gays are routinely refused entry to their premises and gays are discriminated against by Italian religious and educational institutions when applying for employment, for places in schools or in distribution of welfare.   

      You are dead wrong with this simplistic example. 

  5. RCDCR: your logic is skewed. as a matter of fact, “chaps” are to “assless chaps” as “bra” is to “sleeveless bra”. get it?

    and by the way, I happen to know Emma personally and she has huge titties. magnificent, actually.

  6. Thank you Emma, for a sensible article, that tells it like it is. Too often the media like to sensationalize everything.

    I agree with most of your article, except for the bit where you say: “Ford may not be comfortable in an environment that mixes free-range
    genitals with children buying snow cones. Does this make him a prude?
    Definitely”
    I hardly feel that not wanting to see free-range genital with children around would classify someone as a prude.

    As to @google-9fc55c4af352162764aa42a903d49198:disqus ‘s comment, I think you should post some pictures. Maybe with the girlfriend as well. :)

    • If LGBTQ think Ford is homophobe, why do they want him at their party? Does not make sense. Why invite homophobe to LGBTQ celebration.

      State and corporations have provided money, which is validation of LGBTQ cause, while hundreds of thousands of people attend parade and other events. Who cares which pols show up, which don’t. Don’t look to State for succor because it is in short supply.

      “As to  ’s comment, I think you should post some pictures.”

      That’s funny, I was thinking same thing. I am not prude so I wouldn’t object to photos of Emma’s or Ella’s magnificent breasts here at Maclean’s. 

      It might make the LGBTQ crowd feel more welcome.

      • I never said naked. . .

    • Straight men drooling over women’s genitals is sociably acceptable, but how dare gays demonstrate any lustful ideas.  We’re not quite there yet it seems.

      • First of all, there is almost no drool – lol.
        Secondly, why does anyone assume genitals? (and I would submit that most people would not find it ‘socially acceptable’ for anyone to drool over a woman’s genitals (wow – that came out bad – lol)) Please see my post below, where I reply to Tony:
        “I never said naked. . .”

        And if you are suggesting that being naked around children is the only way a gay can demonstrate any lustful ideas – that is nuts. (pardon the pun).

      • Straight or gay, public exhibitionism should not be permitted at public events. Period.

        What consenting adults do behind closed doors is their own business. No one should be doing it in the streets. I fully support gay rights, but I distinguish that from exhibitionists’ rights.

  7. What I find disturbing about the way that this “news” item all fell out is that it seems that the mayor’s refusal to attend any Pride event has given true homophobes a rallying point. 

    Should you investigate the other papers’ commenting sites on this “news” item, you will see people supporting the mayor’s decision, and calling the LGBTQ community (did I get that right?)  “sick”, “perverted”, “sinful”, and, in one post, “catamite(s)” (I had to look that one up).  The Fordies who seem to post in favour of the mayor’s decision are mean, and threatening, and they seem to think that they have got the OK to behave that way, because their role model is gonna go to the cottage.

    The mayor should understand these consequences of his actions. 

  8. i believe in a free society.  if someone does not want to attend an event, don’t force them.  however, if i chose to run for mayor (official spokesperson) of a metropolis of which i knew beforehand had its annual traditions that positively affected my city economically (therefore helping get me paid for my chosen role and helping my city’s projects and other financial aims), i would consider my visible participation (regardless of my own dogma) in all those events a necessary part of the job i chose to vie for, for the entire duration of my employment, if nothing else but to thank everyone for contributing to the economic viability of the entity i’m responsible for and invite everyone to come back again next year.  if i cannot intellectually separate my own personal beliefs and the demands of the role i chose to take on, i had no business going for it in the first place.

    • So, do you want someone who stands for something, or a mindless, grinning sycophant?

      I’m not a Rob Ford fan, but I’m with him on this. If he’s not comfortable with the gay community, then he should feel free to not attend. And they should feel free not to vote for him. As long as he’s (more or less) keeping his opinions to himself and not actively trying to block the celebrations, the gay community should just shake it off and get on with the celebrating.

      Honesty and integrity are things I value in a politician; they are values that are increasingly rare. If I were a Toronto resident, he would not have gotten my vote, but while I don’t like his politics I do admire his willingness to avoid expediency and political correctness when that compromises his values.

      • Is it honest to give an excuse for not attending an event you’re avoiding on principle?

        • Not really, but see MouseWithBrick above. Coming out and saying it would just serve to arouse the rabble. Plus, it’s considered polite to give a plausible “out” to avoid insulting a host in other social settings; why would it be rude or unacceptable here? The message comes across without a loss of face for either party.

          (Can’t believe I’m being an apologist for I guy I don’t like!)

          I’d rather he just came out (pardon the pun) and said it, but some “read-between-the-lines” dissembling is, in my mind at least, more honest than going where he really does not want to be.

      • All politicians are mindless, grinning sycophants.  That’s part of the job.  At least elect one that does the job well.

        • With that low an expectation, then we’ll continue to get more of the same. I’d like to see a higher standard, thanks.

          • Since when was being publicly kind and supportive to everyone regardless of what you privately think of them a low expectation?  That’s the sort of dignity we need more of in office, not less of.

          • So smiling and grinning at, say, a KKK rally would also be required?

            To me, a polite refusal to attend something one does not agree with makes more sense. Then let the voters decide if their values coincide with the politician’s, and vote accordingly.

            But then, I’m a principled sort of person and would really suck as a politician…

          • Keith, attending a KKK rally wouldn’t be very supportive to black people now, would it?

          • Keith, attending a KKK rally wouldn’t be very supportive to black people now, would it?

            No; nor of anyone who isn’t white and “Christian”. That’s the point; you can’t be uniformly supportive of everyone. I deliberately chose an extreme example to make that point.

            Some on here absurdly think politicians can and should attend all events to which they are invited. (Or more likely, they think politicians should unquestioningly support what they support.) Being elected does not take away all discretion to decide how to do one’s job.

            I am not advocating the choice Ford made, but I am defending his right to make it. It’s then up to the voters to decide how they feel about that, and weigh it against everything else when next they vote.

      • Honesty and integrity are things I value in a politician; they are
        values that are increasingly rare. If I were a Toronto resident, he
        would not have gotten my vote, but while I don’t like his politics I do
        admire his willingness to avoid expediency and political correctness
        when that compromises his values.

        So, he’s avoiding any event related to Pride weekend because it offends his values is he?  If so, I’m not sure he’s being “honest” nor demonstrating “integrity” by refusing to attend any events while simultaneously not being honest with the public about WHY he’s refusing to attend.  It feels to me as though the mayor wants to be free to be offended by the existence of gay people, while still trying to hold on to the votes of those who would find his being thus offended to be intolerable.

        • See my reply to Andrew, above.

          • In attempting to reply to you above I have mistakenly hit the ‘like’ button.  I think you’re example of a KKK rally is inappropriate. 
            How about a celebration of civil or aboriginal rights that he chose not to attend?  We’ve come far enough along I don’t believe any politician would dare not be out championing that.  But somehow gay rights just haven’t reached the same acceptance yet. 

          • I mistakenly “liked” one of Emily’s doing the same thing.

            I deliberately used the KKK because people on here were saying a Mayor must attend all public events, regardless of the mayor’s personal opinion. I wanted to illustrate the absurdity of that by choosing something that just about everyone would agree a mayor should not attend.

            As I’ve said numerous times in this comments section, I don’t like Ford and I agree that from a political peace perspective he made the wrong call. But it was his call to make. Voters get to make their call in a few years.

            It just occurred to me that maybe the gay community – and the parade organizers – should be silently thanking Ford. His actions have brought more local attention to the cause than anything since gay marriage legislation.

  9. It’s Ford’s *right* to not attend the parade, I’ll even say that he has the freedom of conscience to be completely homophobic, to think that it’s immoral and so on. What this Pride snub reveals to me is all the stuff he said on the night of his election about wanting to be mayor for all Torontonians is just the usual political BS. Ford cast his campaign as somehow post-ideological, just wanting to get good value for taxpayers (which he hasn’t so far), but this is just another piece of evidence that he’s an ideological right-winger and that there is definitely one part of Toronto (the inner suburbs) that is important to Ford and another (downtown) that he simply doesn’t care about. He had an opportunity to build a bridge and reach out to downtown Toronto with Pride, he clearly doesn’t want to though. So yeah, it’s his right, but he shouldn’t be shocked if he still isn’t liked in the core of the city. He’s got a base, he’s going to play to it, and he doesn’t really care about anyone else.

    • I don’t think that we would excuse racism or sexism as “freedom of conscience”, nor should we accept the (real or implied) racist or sexist behaviours of a city official.  Why should we excuse the homophobic (real or implied) behaviours in this fashion?

      Ford’s snub of Pride Week activities in toto appears really homophobic.  He denies homophobia in words, but not in action.  Real, open, homophobes are applauding this behaviour, and Ford is not denouncing them.  

      With “rights”, come “responsibilities”. Ford should take responsibility for his behaviour, and his behaviour’s consequences.  

  10. Nicely done Emma!

    I support the Pride Parade but I believe that this is becoming a PR mess for gay rights, I watched Evan Solomon yesterday and I was surprised by the weak argument they had. It won’t do any harm to Ford not attending, all the complaining is not helping their cause, they need to get over it.

    Quoting the wise words words of Lady Gaga “Don’t be a drag, Don’t be a Queen”

    Enjoy the Parade for what it is a symbol of love and tolerance!

    • Those wise words are actually “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen”

      • Sorry TJ – didn’t see that until I scrolled down…:-)

      • Oh geez, I know that,  I guess was typing without thinking, sorry!

        “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen”

    • It is -
      ‘Don’t be a drag, just be a Queen’ – which pretty much sums up the essence of Pride.

      • I agree it sums up the essence of the parade, too bad it had to get messy!

  11. I will agree that it is not necessary for Mayor Ford to participate in the Pride Parade.  However, there are other Pride events that Ford could do such as the Pride flag raising, corn roast, Pride banjo concert, moonshine tasting contest, and vegetable exhibit.  Why should Ford participate in a parade that includes muscular manly men and lavacious lucious lesbians?

    I like the Pride parade the way it is–speedo-clad men. bitchy dykes on bikes, and transit supporting transvestites wearing the future Lady Gaga-inspired TTC short skirt uniform (thong included).  Without these, the Pride parade would just be another Canadian civic parade with a “support for Israel”/pee break interlude thrown in the middle.

    • Agreed. He has every right to skip the parade, for whatever reason. (Personally, I’m not a fan of either crowds or public exhibitionism, so while I support gay rights, the parade has zero appeal.) But skipping out on all the other events does seem rather churlish and childish.

  12. If Ford isn’t up to doing the job, he should resign.

    • Failure to pander is the same as not doing his job? That seems a bit of a stretch. He hasn’t taken a public stance against the parade or the gay community; he’s not trying to block any of the events; he’s just not attending.

      Those he offended by not attending are free not to vote for him. Or to run / campaign against him next election.

      • It’s part of his job…he either does it, or resigns.

        • Really? Got a copy of his job description handy? If so, point out the section that says he must attend Gay Pride events.

          It’s become a tradition, but it isn’t a requirement. If people don’t like the fact he’s skippng out on these events, they get to voice that next election.

          Is it a politically expedient course of action? No. But I support his right to make that choice – just as I support the gay community’s right to celebrate. It’s not my way of celebrating, and so I wouldn’t be caught anywhere near the parade, but I hope all those who choose to go have a really great time.

          The one I really get a kick out of for criticizing Ford is Barbara Hall. Sure, she supports gay rights – as long as there aren’t any Barenaked Ladies in attendance! LOL! (Even less of a Hall fan than I am a Ford fan; in fact, I can’t say I’ve been impressed with any Toronto mayor since moving to the GTA – though Mel was always good for a laugh.)

          • He’s there to work for all the people of Toronto, not just the ones he ‘approves’ of.  They all pay taxes.

            So if he can’t cope with the job, he can resign.

          • It’s not possible for one person to represent all people and all views all the time. By your standards, every politician would have to quit. There are some I’d love to see quit (Harper, and yes, Ford too – though not over this) but that’s not how it works…

          • @KeithBram:disqus 

            I don’t know what the problem is here, or even why there is a question.

            The taxpayers pay his salary….he is their employee

            Most other mayors can manage 5 events in just an evening….so unless Ford has a scheduling problem, he is expected to show up

            If Ford can’t represent gays in Toronto on an equal basis with everyone else….then gays shouldn’t be required to pay taxes.  Think what that would do for the Toronto economy.

          • (For some reason I can’t reply to your “taxpayers” comment; I accidentally “liked” you trying to do so. So I’ll reply a second time to this one, in lieu.)

            By that logic, he couldn’t refuse an invitation to a KKK meeting either. After all, their members would be taxpayers too.

            Not that I’m in any way comparing the two events; I’m just trying to point out the absurdity of saying a mayor has no discretion to turn down invitations.

            Or is it only those events you consider to be Politically Correct that can’t be turned down? If so, please provide a list of all such functions so Ford and all other current and future mayors know the “job requirements”.

          • @KeithBram:disqus 

            Since we don’t have a KKK the question is moot.

            However, he is required to show up at every event he can manage….it’s not only part of his job, but people won’t vote for him otherwise

            Yes, that’s how it works.

          • @OriginalEmily1:
            “…people won’t vote for him otherwise.”

            That’s the point I was making: If you think he’s being an idiot over this, then vote him out next time. I think he’s a clown, but you (collectively) get what you vote for.

          • @KeithBram:disqus 
             
            Ford ran on cutting the ‘gravy train’….not on being miserable to gays. So people are rightly annoyed.
             
            The parade brings in huge bucks to Toronto, and he insults them because he thinks it will bring in votes. It won’t.
             
            I wish we could just get people in office who balance budgets, and leave their moral clucking at home

          • it was June Rowland (not Barbara Hall ) who made the BNL comments – so I guess her critique is now validated.

          • Really? Colour me embarassed! I must be getting old. Still not a Hall fan, though.

          • KeithBram, please name a major city in North America (other than deeply screwed-up Oklahoma City, which is no role model) whose mayor did not attend their gay pride parade or festival either regularly or early in their term.  Unless you can do so, you have to accept that either it is in fact in the job description or Rob Ford is some kind of supergenius who should be allowed to do something differently than every other peer mayor.

          • Like I said to Emily, find it in writing as part of the job description and I’ll believe you. Mayors have to have some discretion in carrying out their job as they see fit. If our idea of what is “fit” differs from theirs, then we vote them out. Same as with any other politician.

            I have a list as long as my arm of things Harper has done that I think no PM should do… but there he is with a majority. Deal with it.

          • It’s not like this is some sort of fringe festical – it’s now a world class event, huge revenue generator.  It would be like the Mayor of Calgary not attending the Stampede.

  13. In this country Gays are recognized and may legally wed. In B.C a Mormon cult has several wives for each member..We do not recognize this as a multiple heterosexual marriage.Many eastern religions allow more than one wife and they can becomes Canadians but cannot legally practice more than one marriage.Their is nothing special about Ford having to attend this parade In fact if some of us dressed in the regalia they dress in we would be charged with indecent exposure.The Mayor has the right not to attend without a lot of media B.S.. 

  14. Next year, if Ford can’t come to the Pride parade, the Pride parade should go to Ford’s cottage with a flotilla Parade travelling along the lake.  The parade could always use the Israel supporters to stop such a flotilla.  Speedo-clad men should not be transporting gazebos to Ford’s cottage.  No dyke should ever be seen on a Sea-doo.  Only oily Stockwell (Doris) Day, former Harper Conservative MP and Reform/Alliance party leader, can ride a Sea-doo. He did look hot in aquatic spandex.

  15. I don’t know about Ford, but put me down for #2.

    I have gay friends; I support gay rights, including marriage. But I’m not a big fan of public displays of affection – straight or gay – let alone some of the things (I’ve heard) that go on at the Gay Pride parade. Add to that my dislike of crowds, and the Parade is the last place I’d want to be.

    Some of my gay friends feel the same way.

    So don’t assume a lack of participation means a lack of support. Though Rob’s refusal to attend any of the events does seem rather suspicious, until he actually says on the record that he is opposed, don’t assume…

  16. Enjoy the cottage breeze and clear skies, Mr. Mayor. If I were the Mayor I’d never step foot at the Pride parade either after the fiasco at the flag-raising. People went there with intent to mock and harass the Mayor. Until Rob Ford’s critics display maturity, accept that he has shortcomings but demonstrate a willingness to work with him; I do not see why he should bend over backwards to appease this community or any other group his policies and communications might affect. He is the Mayor; not an emcee or litmus test for gay tolerance within Toronto. Go to Pride and enjoy it, but don’t bully and intimidate those not yet comfortable with that scene into making declarations to the contrary. Live and let live.

  17. siummary  – the closet of hate has a thousand facets.  who knows which ones he has latched onto.

    I was going to come up there for the pride parade in Toronto,  but scheduling it didn’t work.

    I have tickets to Iceland where 40% of the people attend the parade etc, the prime minister married her partner 3 days after their parliment voted 49 to 0 for gay marriage  a year or two ago.

    Nothing against canada – we just happended to be there iN BC on vacation the day gays got equal rights.  And no one gave a damn of the dozen or so strangers I asked.

    Contrast that with my country, the most religious in the west  – the hate states of america.  the last westernized country to end slavery, justified as per the bible.  One of the last to give gays equal rights though things are changing for the better. NY state has marriage,  Rhode Island just voted in civil unions, 4th state this year.

    But pls remember that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and equlity.  the catholic church of Hitler, still not Excommunciated for his 50 million murders, is unfortunately still alive and sick down here.  If you followed the hatred Archbishop Dolan pitched.

    BTW here are a couple links on the church……

    http://jurist.org/paperchase/2011/01/milwaukee-archdiocese-files-for-bankruptcy.php       this is Dolans former diocese.

    http://www.philadelphiadistrictattorney.com/images/Grand_Jury_Report.pdf         this is link to Philadelphia
    grand jury report   on catholic
    church  abuse   Horrendous.

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1992502_1992500,00.html   9 sexual abuse scandals around the world by
    the church.  Includes Ratzinger
    involvement in the  cover up

     

  18. You may be without compunction while partaking of this debauchery but not all of us are moral relativists.

    You want us to tell you it’s okay so badly and it just grates you when we refuse. tough luck.

    • Judge not dude, lest ye be judged.

  19. If you’re gay, as you say in the first line, why do you have a girlfriend and why are you kissing her, as you say in the last paragraph?

    So confused.

    • Ever heard of a lesbian?

    • Well I suppose Emma could be a man. But I doubt it. Not with so many commenting on the state of her, um, bodacious ta-ta’s.

  20. It’s one thing to not like the parade.  It’s another thing to not attend a flag raising at City Hall.  It’s even worse to use personal dislike of LGBT people to vote against services like HIV/AIDS testing. 

  21. 4. Rob Ford is a shrewd politician with big ambitions
    Not attending Pride may hold political benefits (and avoid political costs) for Ford, notwithstanding his position on gay rights issues (he has said that both he and his brother are “big social liberals”, for the record).

    The usual media understanding of politics – that it is about courting the political centre, and avoiding bad press – is not always true. When voter turnout is south of 50% (as is the case in most municipal elections), intensity of support can be more important than breadth. Not attending Pride angers a set of voters unlikely to support Ford (and often divided between two candidates, eg. Hall and Miller in 2003 or Smitherman and Giambrone/Pantalone in 2010), while exciting one that is likely to back him. At the same time, it is a sufficiently innocuous move that it is unlikely to matter for the broad centre. 

    There may also be an element of wedge politics in there too. New Canadians – a vital constituency in Toronto elections – have traditionally backed parties of the left or centre. However, many are socially conservative, making it politically beneficial for politicians of the right to emphasize social issues.

    Finally, if Rob Ford wants to some day run for leadership of the Ontario PC party (or federal Conservative Party). If so, he would want to avoid the kind of baggage that sunk John Tory’s tenure. Tory’s presence at the gay pride parade was a liability among right wing activists within the party. Indeed, it reached the point where many were willing to lose a longstanding riding in a by-election, in order to turf their leader. 

    I’m agnostic about whether we have seen enough evidence to say Rob Ford is or isn’t a prude/homophobe or whatever. However, we have seen that Rob Ford is a darn good politician. 

    • So Ford’s playing to the same people Harper was when he cut funding to TO Pride?  This sounds highly likely to me.  Never assume principles, when politics can explain something.

  22. Storm and Jazz sure aren’t gonna like this.

  23. People who cavil about Mayor Ford remind me of this parable. LGBTQ types have made extraordinary gains over past ten to twenty years, they should be happy, not morose.

    A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety.The water started to rise in his house. His neighbour urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety.

    The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me”. The neighbour drove off in his pick-up truck.The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof.

    A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.

    The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof.

    The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left.The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.

    When he reached heaven and asked, “God, Why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?”

    God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused it all. What else could I possibly do for you?!”

    • People told Ford he should go to the Parade, and he refused.  They told him he should go to the flag-raising if he was going to skip the parade, and he refused.  They told him he should do something, ANYTHING to indicate that he wasn’t just giving the finger to a large community and a major tourist event for the city, and he refused.

      Some people are just really stubborn, aren’t they?

  24. Nothing shows pride in oneself like a bejeweled pair of assless chaps.

    Why wouldn’t you want to take your familly down to see that?

  25. I think most people are missing the point here. It isn’t really about Rob Ford at all.

    It’s about the role of the mayor. As it has been pointed out, there are numerous events this week that he could’ve attended, and in many respects he has a role to fill at these events to some degree.

    In case folks haven’t noticed, his failure to attend a single one of these events, or even make supportive statements, has emboldened haters throughout the city and in fact the country.

    The number of nasty emails, online comments etc lifting Ford up as an example of support for their hatred is quite startling.

    So again, I don’t personally think this is about Ford. This is about the mayor making a point of showing support for a vulnerable minority that is still finding its place in society.

    Rob Ford could end all this speculation in a heart beat. I really wish he would.

  26. Someone needs to remind Emma that sexual orientation isn’t about her right to put on overalls and hit up a fancy dance club… It’s about people’s right to HAVE SEX. Sheesh. Get a grip.

    •  Why would I wear overalls to a nice club? They wouldn’t let me in. And anyway, they’re so nineties. But about the sex thing….who’s stopping me? You can’t possibly think Rob Ford’s absence at the parade–or any Pride event for that matter–will take away my right to have sex. That’s silly. 

  27. If Rob Ford is the “economy first” mayor he proclaims to be, and is mayor for “all” of Toronto (and not just for the red necks in Etobicoke), he would realize that he is in fact selling Toronto to the world. Pride Week is an event that generates 100′s of millions of dollars for the city and massive international attention. If he doesn’t want to be at the parade that is his business – but to snub the entire week is short-sighted, irresponsible, and narrow-minded. Where is his so-called business-first agenda now?

    • Yeah that’s the one argument I can’t really refute. Pride is easily a Top 5 event in Toronto along with Caribana and, um…….hmmm. 

      Is it THE top tourist draw PERIOD? If so, from a leadership perspective I think Violent J/Rob Ford (ever seen them in the same place?) needs to be there. 

  28. It’s not that Ford is being anti gay, it’s that he is being anti Mayor.  The real possibility here is:

    4) Ford does not understand the role of a Mayor or how to do that job professionally.  Being Mayor does not mean simply imposing your thoughts and preferences on city policy, come hell or high water — it means assembling a team, listening to professional analysis of issues and acting in a way that represents the best interests of the city.  It also means taking on a certain PR role that simply comes with the job.

    Go ahead and try to name a major city in North America whose mayor has not attended a Gay Pride festival/parade either regularly or at some early point in their term.  (I can’t, other than Oklahoma City, which is not the best model for Toronto). It’s not about personal preferences towards chaps vs cottages — it’s about being the Mayor and showing up.  Bloomberg in NY is a perfect example of a right-wing business-oriented Mayor who doesn’t need the gay vote, is generally supportive of gay issues but not keen on gay events, and would rather be at his cottage (in Bermuda!) than at a gay pride parade.  But he goes, glumly, because he knows he has to and if every mayor before him since the 1960s has gone, by golly he has to go to. 

    Ford is missing the point, but that’s not really new, is it?

    • Seriously, if Mel Freakin’ Lastman could find his way down to Pride, surely Rob could. 

  29. I am not gay, I’m pro gay right, everyone should have the same rights despite color, race or sexual orientation. I’ve been to the pride parade. Really, I hated it. Not my thing. To call someone homophobic because he/she doesn’t want to go the parade is ridiculous, and offensive. If the man is not doing his job in regards to fighting for their rights, people have all the right in the world to complain (and should), but it’s not his job to go to parties. Next thing you know, it’ll be his job to attend the March for Jesus, the Caribana, etc, otherwise he’s racist, Satan’s worshiper, etc. Give me a break…

    I feel sad for those who are gay and struggle to make their voices heard, their rights respected and a small, but loud, group of people make them look bad like that.

  30. I’ve had enough of parades, groups and hirering policies that are geared to a certain group. You should be hired for your skills and abilities, you should be accepted for whatever race, color, sex, religion or minority or majority you belong to. I don’t see straight pride parades, Womans only or Mens only parade, anglo television, anglo college fund. These would be considered racist, while in fact they may just be a group that is proud of who they are or what they are. These groups are afraid to do just that so does this make them a minority too afraid to stand up?
    Cure the whole problem by removing all of these racists parades and groups.
    Be proud to be CANADIAN!
    We should march in a Canadian Parade!
    No one should be forced to attend any such event.
    I’m Canadian and proud of it and God bless this beautiful country that we live in and shame on every one that wants to change our heritage and values.

  31. Celebrating Diversity is important!  I know that Rob Ford and his protege coach don’t like pinkos etc.  At least the coach has the guts to remind people what kind of a moron he is once in awhile!

  32. Emma:

    Did you pick the cringeworthy, annoying title to your piece, or did Barbara Amiel?

    Ford’s missing a HUGE opportunity.  If he showed up for 2 minutes, let the LGBTQ/Arts/Bike community hiss and boo, then left in a huff, he could claim:

    a) that he’d gone in good faith
    b) look like a martyr to the cause of… whatever it is that he claims to stand for
    c) have a get out of jail free card re LGBTQ events for the rest of his administration

    So it’s hard to feel too bad about this – whatever the motivation, he’s just being the same guy he’s always been.  “The-guy-who-never-used-to-vote-on-the-same-side-as-more-than-one-or-two-counselors-no-matter-what-the-issue-was-that-would-be-mayor” guy.  Better he should do that, then feign some kind of respect for LGBTQ people that he doesn’t have and never will.

    If he or his handlers ever do the simple calculus that says “throw downtowners a bone on gays and bikes and we’ll be here for 15 years”, we will truly be in trouble.  Because soon there will be a candidate that knows how to balance a budget AND not be a total pr*ck, and that guy will be our next mayor.

  33. We now have our very own Glen Beck.  It is a little humbling to know that we are not as tolerant and friendly as some of us make ourselves out to be,  I am proud to know we have a Muslim mayor and hopefully that cancels out any bigoted politicians  that we know we have, Rob Ford is just the most noticeable because he is the mayor of a city that has tried for so long to earn the Toronto the Good medal.  Buck up Toronto.  His time shall soon pass. 

  34.     Give me a break people. If he doesn’t want to go to the parade, Mayor or not, why should anyone have the right to force him to go or to participate in any of the associated events. I mean, we are still a free society are we not? The gay community has been fighting for equal rights for how long now? Are we going to now say that gay rights should take precedence over equal rights or that equal rights should only apply to the gay community?
        It’s Canada Day long weekend and he wants to spend it at the cottage like many other Canadians do. Lay off of the guy and go have fun at the parade. I often spend my Canada Day shopping and visiting down in the states. Does that make me any less of a Canadian? You people are being ridiculous, plain and simple.
        And as for his responsibility for supporting an economically beneficial event, is that really why we have the parade, to make money? And is his nonparticipation really going to keep people from coming, having fun, and spending money? I really don’t think so. Quit being so hypersensitive and insecure.

  35. I was born and raised in Toronto and I love my hometown.  I was very upset when Rob Rod won the election because I do not believe he represents Toronto.  Yes, he won because a lot of people are one-topic voters.  You hate taxes-vote for Ford.  But did you really consider the how he would represent the city?   I don’t think so.  I am a municipal councillor in my community and I believe part of the job is representing the municipality — not when it is convenient or a comfortable place.  I have eaten food that I could not determine the source of and talk to people I know hate me.  But they need something done and my vote may be necessary.  So, of course, you go to everything possible.  I can understand about going to the cottage because his work takes him away from his family many times but he could be attending a flag raising.  So, yes, I think he should have done something — in the process, both groups may learn something about each other.   You may learn that his reason for not going may be something totally different.  He may learn that he is not going to become gay by association.  I don’t know but the door should be left ajar for the possibility of communication.
     

  36. Gay pride is not really something which should be celebrated. What needs to be celebrated is truth, justice in our courts. We need to elect politicians that can not put the loot into their pockets and their cronies. People of Mississauga elected Mayor Hazel when she has long ago passed her prime as an effective elected person. The world is a frikin mess and to celebrate drunken sexual foolishness is just part of the Illuminati plan for people that allow their minds to dwell along the same lines as sheep and rabbits. I say stop. When young men sent to our prisons are raped by homosexual beasts what have you got to be proud of in Canada. Some people are sent to prisons wrongly and then treated to this and exposed to drug idiots in there and raped and be in the company of low down nitwits. It is allowed to carry on when it is a violation probably of the Charter of Rights. Canada needs to wash itself of this activity.  Instead of cavorting like a bunch of sissies- why isn’t there a march and demonstration. NDP is silent, Libs are silent, they are at the Pride parade trying to pick your pockets with toothy grins and slimy paws. Leave Ford alone, he will be firing up a BBQ and cooling it down by the beach.  Gays didn’t vote for him and he is so right to flick the bird right back at them. Stop your whining. It is so un-gay.

    • Not every homophobe is secretly closeted and self-loathing, Vince, but given the tone of lascivious fascination displayed above, you probably are.

  37. Modern social science backs her up on this. “Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing,” Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory at Swarthmore College, told me. “But happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.” 

    It’s precisely this goal, though, that many modern parents focus on obsessively—only to see it backfire. Observing this phenomenon, my colleagues and I began to wonder: Could it be that by protecting our kids from unhappiness as children, we’re depriving them of happiness as adults?

    Paul Bohn, a psychiatrist at UCLA who came to speak at my clinic, says the answer may be yes. Based on what he sees in his practice, Bohn believes many parents will do anything to avoid having their kids experience even mild discomfort, anxiety, or disappointment—“anything less than pleasant,” as he puts it—with the result that when, as adults, they experience the normal frustrations of life, they think something must be terribly wrong.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/8555/1/

  38. So how about a hetero-parade.  Would the gay community be offended?  How about if Mayor Ford didn’t go to that one either?  Would that make him gay?

  39. whether he likes it or not, the lesbian/transgendered/gay/bisexual/queer community are part of the city he was elected to represent. a failure to embrace that community means that he’s not only snubbing the LTGBQ crowd, but that he’s snubbing citizens of toronto.

  40. Well, whether Ford attends Pride or not has little effect on gay rights in Canada. They’re settled; he can’t undo them. So I agree that it’s not particularly important one way or the other. But, his past comments make it quite clear that he is not pro-gay and does not believe in full equality for all of Toronto’s citizens, including you, Emma, so I’m not sure why you go so out of your way to let him off the hook. Furthermore, Pride is not a “leftist” celebration. If you’d been paying attention, you might have noticed that many on the left think Pride is a corporate charade. Nor is it all about assless chaps, nipple tassels, and homosexual sex–though you seem oddly obsessed by the same elements of Pride that get the religious wingnuts falsely upset, since there are far less chaps and nipple tassels at Pride than they would like to believe. And, why in Toronto, should you kissing your girlfriend scandalize anyone? Sounds like the mayor’s homophobia is less a problem than your own internalized homophobia. The people who really like Pride, are, surprise, straight people! They defend the parade’s salacious elements by showing up to watch year after year. Get over it, dear.

  41. Wow – what is it with Toronto?  I have never seen so much crap about a mayor attending a parade in all my life.  Emma thank you for a mature, thoughtful assesment and opinion.  I live in the West but travel often to Palm Springs, a city with more gay people than San Francisco, and a city full of traditional visitors from all walks of life. We interact with gay people every day – never see exhibitionism  only normal interaction  -  always polite shop owners and workers.  (The mayor happened to be gay the last time I was there)  I think they have parade days but have never noticed any annoyance if all and sundry did not attend!    Everyone just seems to live their lives in a normal way – not all this anger,  pushiness.   If I lived in Toronto I would have my “hackles” up over these the nasty comments – it does not forward an accepting agenda.   It alienates – do people not understand that?  The gay movement has come a long way in a short time – but I could see the backlash of being over pushy.  Cut it out already!

  42. First they redefined the word “Gay” ( look it up in an old dictionary folks)
    Now they are proud of it all “Pride”.
    They had a name before, “homosexual” but for some reason don’t like that name.

    Call it what you like, in one generation all these folks vanish. Only heterosexuals actually reproduce and without reproduction your future is rather limited as part of a species.

    Is it “natural”? Who knows, certainly I don’t.

    You know if you stress out an animal, be it a lab rat, chicken in a barn, or human in a crowded city, strange behavior is one of the symptoms.

    Is Rob Ford right, or wrong? Is there a right or wrong?

    Do I really want to stand in the hot sun and watch a bunch of semi dressed people thrust their genitals at the crowd? Does this somehow accomplish some objective that maybe I have missed?

    Do I really care might be a more appropriate question?

    • We just have to keep hate out of the analysis. No one has all the answers.

    • “Call it what you like, in one generation all these folks vanish.”

      So why are they still here?  Have you never heard of Sappho, the the Spartan agoge, the Theban Sacred Band, the Samurai, the Knights Templar?  If gays and lesbians “weed themselves out”, why are they still here after (at least) two and a half millennia (and counting)?

      You might think same-sex love a sin (and you have a bit of tradition, but not all of it, on your side), but even sin has staying power (quite a lot of it, if the Bible is to believed).

      Bless me, what do they teach them in these schools? (as C. S. Lewis would say, but with no friendly voice).

    • Um, newsflash Hannah, gays overwhelmingly have straight parents. Gays will be around as long as the human species exists.

  43. Well said, Emma Teitel. Many people simply find the pride parade embarrassing. It’s time to grow up.

    • You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to go.  The subject is the Mayor of Toronto and his responsibilities.

      • He doesn’t have to like it; he doesn’t have to go. He has apparently decided he can live with the backlash.

        • Or he has decided there is political advantage to boycotting Pride Week.  There is definitely a demographic cheering him on. 

          • Always a possibility…

  44. Equating “phobia” and “hate” with someone who is in not compliant with your social/political views is either one of two things:
    1) Ignorant
    2) Attempting to bully society into changing definitions
    If you disagree with a person’s point of view, it does not make you hateful nor phobic. If you disagree with the views of Christianity yet have christian friends and relatives whom you love; does that make you a christophobe? Does that make you a hater? Likely not.Unfortunately we have seen a rise of anti-religious hate spewed all over the internet. Sad to think that we, as a society, cannot express differing views. If a christian expresses an opposition to homosexual behaviour they are labelled hateful. If a homosexual expresses hateful or legitimately ignorant views of  christianity, they are justified. Something doesn’t add up.
    Thank you, Emma, for an enlightening, level-headed article.

  45. Excellent article, wise, funny, and pragmatic all at once.   You make me want to go to a pride rally (no mean feat), if only to give my blessings (for what they are worth) to you and your girlfriend.  Mary Renault (does anyone remember her?) would have loved this piece.

  46. and thank you also to “call to reason”   Diverse opinions make an enlightened society. Hate comments on either side do not.   Everyone thinks their opinion is correct.  If there is an absolute valid truth it is that history has changed what people “knew” as “valid” truths.  I am a senior person who has grown up through a lot of changes.  lol I have gone from living in dire straits with my family using an outhouse to living in the extreme end of that in a home with more indoor plumbing than we can possibly use.  Have seen a lot of societal changes, including biases of my own.   I still do not wish to view exhibitionist behaviour, so I don’t attend those events that showcase them – and I would never bully anyone into doing the PC thing if they are uncomfortable.   Just be aware that there are many people in transition with being more accepting and be empathetic with their feelings also.

  47. You can’t pick out the few stereostypes of Pride and paint every event with the same brush, there are many politically charged events at Pride. and also i’m not wearing chaps nor am i a man. this article is insulting to anyone who reads it. and who the hell are u to judge all of this? this is an awful read.

  48. This is what happens when you let the so-called “Gay-Pride” out of the closet. Today, as a straight person, the gays want to put ME in the closet. That’s what cancer does. Let it spread and see the end results. This is where we are today where good is bad and bad is good. The Bible was right. Cursed is a nation that tolerates and accepts such ‘debauchery’ especially those who are proud to sin in front of everyone without shame. Go ahead and snap back at me you vile bunch of garbage.

    • Why bother? Support for your brand of hate is on a severe generational decline. You can go to your grave seething with rage about having to share the planet with gays, but your children and grandchildren probably won’t.

  49. Excellent article. So-called Gay Pride was a borrowing from San Francisco and Christopher Street in Manhattan. Why would it represent “gays” at all? This event is a holdover from the politics of the 1980s when gay rights was drowned in self-pity, amorality, and delberate marginalization. Using the word “queer” as an affirmative is abusive and ahistorical. Who told them they could do that? This is a sort of verbal construction of “inversion

  50. Its a free country. Get over it.

  51. he is. he isnt.  he maybe.. ?? just a subliminal message in there stating he is a homophobic jerk.. your  preferences are your own.  why are you offended if someone else doesnt feel the need to celebrate?

  52. Emailed to Mr Ford today:

    Dear Mr. Ford,It will have been a holiday-shortened week by the time your office opens this tomorrow morning. You will be relaxed from a weekend with your family at the cottage. Toronto will seem like a small-minded city with very large buildings.Meanwhile, in a city that doesn’t bother to self-refer as “world class”, a Conservative mayor will have participated in the local gay pride celebrations:The Conservative mayor Boris Johnson will join thousands of revellers on the streets of central London to mark the contribution of gay people to life in the city.

    Johnson was not originally scheduled to make an appearance at the London gay pride celebrations, but has cleared his diary to help kick off proceedings when the parade begins.He managed to clear his diary.

    What a shame that your diary was so jam-packed as to be immovable. I have to agree with the commentator who notes that when you run for the job of Mayor of the City of Toronto you just have to suck it up and face the fact that weekends at the cottage may be disrupted.Thad McIlroy

    • This is a good example of an opinion statement.

      You know that, of course, because your founded that site about publishing. . .

  53. HELP.. I DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT I RECOMMENDED THAT ARTICLE>>   My personal feelings are that I abhor the gay pride parade and admire Rob Ford for having the guts to not go to it!

  54. I am glad that gays gained their rights – and so it should be but I find the tasteless display of sex
    and like the writer says – snow cones…………something I would not watch or participate in either…nor want my children to.
    As a single divorced woman who fought for women’s rights in a tasteful way………..I see you have to shock the world to get noticed………..the Gay’s now have more rights than Divorced Canadian women depending on province!!

    maybe women should get vulgar display parades and shock some politicians and lawyers and Fed’s shamelessly and demand equal rights!!

  55. Talk about internalizing your own homophobia — this article is it.

  56. They should change the name to the Toronto Gay Sex Parade…or the Toronto Gay ‘Show me your wiener’ Parade…..

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