Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pride in Toronto and Beyond

This week has seen quite a bit of news relating to homosexual issues in the media. For the record, I worked with my opening sentence for ten minutes and I still do not like it, but I wanted to move on. This week is Pride Week in Toronto. Toronto’s parade and related celebrations draw in thousands of tourists to the city and is one of the world’s largest international parades.

However, our friends across the border in New York state have broken new ground this week. A few days ago Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a same-sex marriage law. Gay Rights issues have largely died down in Canada in the last few years since we passed our own same-sex marriage legislation. Once marriage equality was won the gay rights agenda has lost much of its initiative from the 1990s and early 2000s.

The United States is not settled on the issue at all. Many states have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, some have a constitutional ban but still allow rights of a married couple without the title. Look at the Wikipedia page for some insight, the map alone I think gives the picture. New York is now the sixth state to fully recognize gay marriage, the other five are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Congratulations New York.

I heard there was some controversy over the fact that Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto does not intend to attend the Pride Parade, and instead will be cottaging with his family. Ford’s office states that this is a family tradition that goes back many years for Canada Day. Rob Ford is Toronto’s most conservative mayor in many, many years, and he has made statements in the past that would lead one to believe he does not fully support the Pride parade. I must say that I do not have a problem with Mayor Ford not attending. I’d prefer a man with principles I do not fully share than a politician who panders despite the fact that he or she does not agree with the cause.

I have never attended a Pride event myself, not out of any special dislike of the activity, I just live away from the city and it has never seemed like my type of scene. To be fair, I also do not attend the Santa Clause Parade, perhaps I am just not a parade person. Doing research for this week’s posting though, something bothered me. I do not like the fact that Pride Week is held on the last week of June. July 1st will more often than not fall within Pride Week within the city of Toronto. Canada Day is a national holiday, for all Canadians, and I am uncomfortable with the competing interests of Pride and our national birthday.

Perhaps there is only an imagined conflict in my mind, but I would much prefer celebrations of Canadian nationalism to not have to fight for oxygen with any other festival. I would think it a modest suggestion that Pride in the future be held on a slightly different week, the third week of June or the second week of July. I honestly don’t expect things to move, I do not have any say at all and the forces of the status quo may view it as some sort of attack.

Of course, if it did not coincide with Canada Day Mayor Ford may still be in the city, and then what reason would he find to be away?

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