Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Does Toronto Really Need a Gay Pride Parade?
I dashed down to Toronto City Hall today to watch them raise the gay flag...to mark Gay Pride week. But by the time I got there.... sweating like a pig in the 34 degree heat...the rainbow flag was already flying on the "courtesy pole "....and people were already leaving.
In the square below a couple of hundred mostly older gays and lesbians mingled with city poobahs and and other VIPs. Others lined up to get free roast beef sandwiches. The Mayor was in a corner answering questions from a horde of reporters....about property taxes. It all seemed a little ho hum.
Then I read this slap in the face post about how they almost cancelled the Gay Parade in Montreal. Because the pride/beer ratio wasn't right. And I was shocked. I leave my city for a few years and this is what happens. Yikes....I mean tabarnac. As if we don't consume enough beer. As if we don't have enough drunks.
But then I couldn't help but wonder whether Toronto really needs a Gay Pride Parade anymore. Because they may not be selling enough beer in Montreal....but the one here is a corporate carnival. It sells EVERYTHING.
OK......OK..... I KNOW I had a good time last year.
But what if we scrapped the parade.....saved all that money spent for floats and security.... and put it into projects to help gay kids or seniors or people living with HIV...or to promote anti-bullying programs in our schools?
And just kept THE BIG GAY PARTY.
After all.... only thirty-eight years after the Stonewall Riots created it. ....that's all Gay Pride has become. Once it was a march that followed a riot. Now it's just a parade. Although the group that organizes New York's Pride Celebrations still insists on calling it a march.
Heritage of Pride, Inc., like its predecessor the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee, has always called this event a March. HOP feels that until the day all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people can live their lives without violence, harassment, and discrimination, they must continue to march openly and proudly.
But everybody LOVES a parade. Don't we have the right to celebrate our victories in our long and hard struggle for equality?
Oh boy do we ever...
But only as long as we remember that the struggle is not over, and the biggest battles are ahead of us. The Christian Right is growing more desperate and extremist in its views. If you haven't read this excellent but scary post. You should.
The Christofascists are on the move. First they'll come for us. Then they'll come for the others. Now may be the time to celebrate. But it's also the time to fight back. Show them that we are not afraid. Time to put a little riot back in the gay parade.
Which just happens to remind me.......ahem......my FAVOURITE Canadian band Billy Talent won the best video at the MuchMusic Video awards the other night for a song called Fallen Leaves. It's awesome and you KNOW I'll find an excuse to run it.... But not tonight.
Tonight I thought I'd just run my second favourite BT video...after Nothing to Lose.... the one about bullying.
Just to give you an idea of what my Gay Parade might look like....
Just add a few rainbow flags of freedom to the red ones of revolution ...and that's what I call a March/Riot/Parade!!!
In the meantime a million people can't be wrong. There is something during Gay Pride Week for everyone. And EVERYONE gay or straight is invited.
So I guess I'll just drag my sorry gay ass down to THE BIG GAY PARTY AND PARADE.(sigh) All those concerts...all that food and drink...all those half naked men. That is going to be REALLY hard.
Having a wild and crazy time....without Sébastien.
While waiting for the war to begin...