Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the harpercons' Cancelling of Funding for Toronto Pride

One of my favourite bloggers, Montreal Simon, talks about the lack of support for gays in response to the harpercon government's announcement that they would not be supporting the massive Toronto Gay Pride this year and says maybe it should be a private party:
I'd be sorry not to be able to entertain all those straight people in Toronto. Or soak them with my water gun.

But since so few of them have come to our defence. No editorials, almost no blog posts from those who should know that this not just a parade. Just a torrent of hateful comments in all the Toronto newspapers. About how it's so PERVERTED.

Maybe they don't deserve it.

Maybe it's time to let everybody know that we are fighting for our survival.

We can only count on ourselves.

I must confess that I didn't pounce on the story at all. Of course, I haven't blogged about much of anything the past couple of weeks. Also, my focus tends to be on foreign policy, economics, and national politics. Finally, I thought that Toronto Pride, being a hugely successful institution, didn't really need a lot of federal assistance, so that this cut-off, while depressing, wasn't mortal. Apparently though, all things considered, this is pretty serious:
it's unclear whether the Ontario provincial government will contribute the same $350,000 this year that they gave in 2009. Apparently several sponsors already have quietly dropped their endorsement over the QAIA issue, as the Pride Toronto website as of May 9 shows only two corporate sponsors, TD Bank and Labatt Breweries. Proctor and Gamble and Pepsi Cola were there a month ago, but seem to have decamped, along with others.

So it appears that this is a very bad thing, and, Montreal Simon has shamed me into commenting on it. I was an empty-headed homophobe as a teenager. I never, ever, harboured that insane hatred for gays that animates genuine homophobes and closet-cases though. But I'd toss around "fag" and "queer" as mindless insults with some regularity. Reading the thoughts and opinions of gay friends on the internet has made me much more aware of the struggles that they face, and made me want to be a bit more vocal in defence of GLBT rights.

Reading Montreal Simon's blog post on this subject, I grasp the significance of the harpercons' action better. Toronto Pride isn't the be-all and end-all of gay rights in Canada. But it is a significant statement of solidarity and pride to a population that is still under constant attack in our society. It's a statement of strength directed at a homophobic society:
It's a week-long gathering to celebrate our very survival in the face of the brutish bigotry that seeks to diminish or kill us. A chance to showoff our artists, and show closeted seniors or kids that they are not alone.

Refusing to fund Toronto Pride is an act of historical hatred and ignorance. It is a violent statement, telling an oppressed group to shut-up and stay oppressed. The fact that it's all inspired by freaks, closet-cases, deluded religious nutbars, and hypocrites just makes it all the more disgusting. This is another example of the vile, hateful, idiotic mentality of the harpercons.


Alison said...

I'm sorry Simon feels unsupported in this.

Giving the funding to the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampede and the Honda Indy but not Pride, or any other pride event, is an incredibly ass move. I assume it's all about Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, over which the Pride organizers have waffled to say the least while the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies have been writing letters.

The funding cut did get massive coverage though, even if not on the blogs. CBC ran several pieces including a poll and an interview with CEO Sandilands, several MPs have brought it up daily in the House, it's been in every paper including NaPo, Rabble has two threads, and the Libs did a presser on it.

I'll get something up at the Beav tomorrow.

thwap said...

I've been getting all my mainstream coverage from the Globe these days. And Progressive Bloggers. Glad to see someone's making a stink about it.