Toronto Councilor Explodes Over Gay Pride Funding

May 25th, 2007

Rob Ford Explodes

Rob Ford, a Toronto city councilor, has once again burst an eye vessel over gay issues at a city council meeting. Here’s what our delightful urban hayseed had to say before voting against the funding of Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade:

I don’t think we should be supporting sexuality and that’s where this money is going. That’s what we’re supporting here, madam chair. I don’t believe we should be spending taxpayers’ money supporting your sexuality! If you’re gay great. If you’re not gay, that’s great too. That’s your prerogative. Do we have a straight parade? Do we have a heterosexual parade? Do we fund that? No! So I don’t know why we’re funding other things like that.

A heterosexual parade, eh? Now that would be a spectacle. All those straight couples holding hands in public, flaunting their babies for all to see…

Here’s the thing: Rob doesn’t know what a gay pride parade is. The reason straight pride festivals don’t exist is because it’s not about “supporting sexuality.” Pride parades exist because pride is the opposite of shame—which is what many would still have us feel.

If Rob had ever been to a gay pride parade, he’d note its highly political nature, with groups representing equality advocacy organisations, help for struggling teens, parent support systems, MPs and MLAs, educators, councilors, researchers, corporate sponsors, sport teams, music and theatre groups, veterans, and many others. It promotes diversity, celebrates culture, and—as in the case of Toronto—can be one of a city’s most successful tourist attractions. Of course, I don’t expect Rob to get this any time soon.

Ford was featured on this site last year for voting against AIDS education programs, announcing: “[if] you’re not gay, you won’t get AIDS”. He later apologised, blaming his outburst on “one too many beers.”

Incidentally, the funding for Toronto’s Pride Parade passed overwhelmingly, 36–2.