OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Gay Pride

Calgary Mayor Leads Pride Parade For First Time

September 7th, 2011

People parade through a field of hay.

Calgary may not have the reputation of being a particularly tolerant city, but that perception could change sooner than one might think. For one, Calgarians elected a surprisingly progressive mayor last year. Naheed Nenshi won by a comfortable margin thanks in large to an active youth vote, assembled into action via social media. And now, from this involved base of progressives, the city’s mayor has—for the first time ever—led the city’s annual Pride parade.

For some history, Calgary—the largest city in the Canadian prairies—hasn’t been particularly welcoming of Pride celebrations in the past. It famously rescinded a Gay Pride proclamation in the early 90s following angry public demonstrations. Even more recently, any public visibility by the city’s GLBT community is usually accompanied by protesters, an annual occurrence at the Pride parade, as well as events like the regional Outgames in 2007.

Needless to say, I think the growing visibility and comfort of the GLBT community is wonderful, and already a big change from my experience living in Calgary in the mid 2000s. So, thank you, Mayor Nenshi, for representing all Calgarians!

Brazil Ponders Heterosexual Pride Parade

August 8th, 2011

People in traditional and business attire, hold a Straight Pride banner, featuring a brown, beige, and grey rainbow.

The city of São Paulo approved legislation last week that would bring a heterosexual pride day to the city, if the Mayor approves it. Carlos Apolinario, the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation was “not anti-gay,” but rather “a protest against the privileges the gay community enjoys.”

“I have no trouble coexisting with gays as long as their behavior is normal,” Apolinario told the press.

That’s OK, I don’t have a problem with heterosexuals—so long as they act gay in public.

At any rate, this interesting development in the world of straight pride parades reminded me of a story I wrote last year for Outlooks Magazine. Since it was never published on this site, you can read it for the first time in digital form after the jump.

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Another Russian Gay Pride March Ends In Violence

May 30th, 2011

Circle the date on the calendar: Annual Russian gay-bashing.

For the sixth consecutive year, Moscow has forbidden a peaceful gay rights demonstration from happening within the city, and for the sixth consecutive year, equal rights advocates have defied the ban—with violent consequences.

Sadly, this isn’t a surprise. Homophobia runs very deep in Russian culture, so the same story returns year after year. An otherwise peaceful demonstration is met by violent counter protesters from radical right-wing organisations, and the end result is that the peaceful demonstrators are arrested by the police.

Banning peaceful protests is never a good idea, so I’m grateful for the bravery and dedication these men and women show year after year.

It may seem like Moscow has a long way to go, but attitude only change with visibility. When I was a teen growing up in Edmonton in the 90s, I remember a news story about the city’s first gay Pride march. A small handful of protesters stood in front of city hall with handmade signs. About one in three had their heads covered by paper bags with holes cut out for eyes. They were afraid of being identified, afraid of losing their jobs or being outed to their families. This was in Canada, only about 15 years ago. Things have changed a lot since then, and it’s happening all over the world—just at different paces.

I’m looking forward to the year, guaranteed to come, when I’ll post about the first march in Moscow without arrests or violence.

Tories Snub Pride Parade Again

August 18th, 2010

Stephen Harper marches at a gay pride parade shirtless.

Last Sunday was Montréal’s 18th annual Pride parade, and it was fantastic! Organizations, businesses, churches, sports groups, hobby groups, and tons of other equal-rights supporters marched down a brand new parade route in view of over 100,000 spectators. The parade even included politicians from every party—except one.

As in previous years, politicians of all stripes were invited by Pride organizers to come and join in the celebrations, and—like the years before it—the Conservative invitees ignored it entirely. Their absence didn’t go unnoticed, either. Speaking to the media in French, author and television personality, Jasmin Roy, was particularly succinct: “I don’t think we could speak of this as indifference; it’s clear the Harper government doesn’t like gay people.”

Indeed, Stephen Harper’s Tories have fought against equal rights for gay people at every conceivable step, opposing everything from marriage equality (even after it had become law) and protection from hate crimes, to smaller offensive gestures like removing all references to homosexuality from their new immigrant guides.

Given their behavioural history, I never really expected to see Tory party representation in the parade. Actually, I would have been shocked to see it and probably would have joined in a chorus of boos—an appropriate gesture of no where near the level of disrespect and consequence that this government has already displayed toward us gays.

Still, this is a very public example of what our government doesn’t represent, and that’s all Canadians. Whether Tories like it or not, the government is here to represent everybody—not just those that voted for them. And while Harper’s Tories may have a profound lack of sensitivity and understanding toward gay people, we’re still a large and vibrant community whose contributions to the country should have been acknowledged with representation at our biggest and most important cultural event. Honte à vous, Monsieur ‘Arper!

Gay Pride Float Possibly Hit By Arsonist

July 7th, 2010

Bystander mistake a charred pride float as modern art.

The annual gay pride float was a little different this year at Anchorage, Alaska’s fourth of July parade after it burned down in what is being treated as possible arson.

Just a day before the Independence Day parade was set to begin, a suspect was seen fleeing from a residential driveway where the float was parked, as weeks of hard work burned to cinders. Neighbours fear that the fire, which also scortched a nearby garage and attic, could be a hate crime.

The float’s construction team had a great idea, though. Christening the charred float “Phoenix Rising,” they rebuilt it from its ashes and burned remnants using donations from the community. After just one day, the float was finished, entered into the parade as planned, and won the Grand Champion trophy.

What a great display of unity and community pride. It’s an inspirational demonstration of exactly why the gay community should be proud of its accomplishments, and why hateful people should feel ashamed.

Toronto To Host World Pride

October 19th, 2009

Also, Canada will now be known as Gaybonia.

Good news! Toronto has been chosen to host the 2014 World Pride celebrations, an international gay rights and cultural event. Toronto will be the fourth city to host the event (joining Rome, Jerusalem and London) since it started in 2000. The event includes outdoor concerts, festivals, a large parade, and is expected to contribute an estimated $680 million to the city’s economy—five times more than the city’s usual Pride income.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and has recently been doing a lot to welcome and nurture its gay community, which makes it a great choice for the festivities. Not too many other cities have the guts to brand themselves “as gay as it gets,” for example!

The federal Tories will purportedly offer negative funding in exchange for enjoying the economic benefit.

China Launches First Gay Pride Festival

June 12th, 2009

Gay-Tor, The bigot-eating dragon

Shanghai’s first ever Gay Pride festival is going on this week, and while not as spectacular as other Pride events elsewhere on the globe, the festival is the first of its kind in China.

Homosexuality is still somewhat of a taboo subject in China, having been decriminalized only as recently as  1997, and having only been removed off the country’s list of mental disorders in 2001. That China’s heavy-handed government would permit an event like this so quickly afterwards is nothing short of remarkable. Even a state-run newspaper reported that the festival was of “profound significance.”

It’s not entirely a resounding success, mind you. At the last minute, the government forbid a planned film screening and theatrical play from taking place, informing venues that any attempts to ignore the ban would result in “severe consequences.” The BBC speculates that this has more to do with the Chinese government’s nervousness about uncontrolled public gatherings than direct homophobia, and while it’s a setback whatever the reason, the peaceful and entertaining festival is a far cry from some other firsts around the glove.

Slap will now be fielding bets for the next unlikely location to host a state-approved gay pride week: Iran, or Alabama?

Montréal’s Fractured Pride

August 4th, 2008

Yesterday marked the end of Divers/Cité, Montréal’s annual gay and lesbian Pride festival. Or, at least that’s how I used to describe it. This year, the event organisers designated the event as a “a pluridisciplinary arts festival.” Pride, the traditional symbol of cultural celebration and a protest of those who would make gay people feel ashamed, was a theme curiously absent.

In fact, there was one traditionally beloved event that was missing entirely: the annual Pride parade. It’s still coming, mind you. Sunday August 17th, for those that are interested. But, for the second year in a row it’s not being organised by Divers/Cité. Worse, rumour has it that Divers/Cité has actively thwarted the parade from taking place during the rest of the festivities and has taken no part in clarifying what happened to it.

This bizarre situation started last year when Divers/Cité cancelled the parade outright, citing an internal survey that showed the annual gay rights march negatively affected beer sales. A group called Célébrations de la Fierté quickly formed to save the parade, and after last year’s success have now extended it into a four-day celebration, complete with outdoor shows and sponsored parties. In other words, they’ve basically created a second Divers/Cité, two weeks after the first one.

This has many people understandably confused. During the real Divers/Cité, I’ve been asked about the parade both on the street and via email. One New Yorker even wrote me to say his vacation plans were ruined by the change:

I come all the way from lower New York each year, and have already scheduled my vacation around [the parade] only to find it is now in August.  I will not now spend a dime or attend any event this year.

And is it any surprise? Since neither organisation wishes to acknowledge the other, both locals and travellers are scratching their heads as to what exactly is going on.

If you ask me, attendees don’t understand or care about the internal politics of the planning committees. These organisations really ought to take a cue from the gay community in general and unite themselves to celebrate what makes them special. Even if they want to remain seperate entities for organisational reasons, the time split only serves to showcase a bitter fracture.

Quel embarras.

Obsessive Small-Town Wedding Soldiers

July 4th, 2008

Pile o\' Hugs

In my web travels I often collect stories that I intend to share, but then become distracted by newer, shinier stories—or feel too lazy to illustrate them. This is what becomes of those stories: A Pile o’ Sla… Hugs?

The Town of Truro, Nova Scotia—which made national news last year after some bizarre homophobic comments by its mayor—has finally reached an agreement with a local gay rights group, amending its employment equity policy to include sexual orientation. A strange outcome, considering the dispute was over a flag-flying policy.

For the first time ever, Canada’s Armed Forces marched in Toronto’s Gay Pride parade, promoting equal rights and openly recruiting gay servicemen and women. This is in stark contrast to the policies of the United States. I’d ask if you’d like me to describe them, but I’m afraid I can’t tell.

A nation-wide poll shows that support for same-sex marriage in Canada has climbed to 68%. Recent converts cited a lack of family-destroying meteor showers for their change in opinion.

The top leader of Canada’s Anglican Church is standing up for gay-friendly denominations in the country, saying that ultra-conservative factions are obsessing over the wrong issues. Primate Fred Hiltz said it’s unfortunate that some Christians are “preoccupied with sexual acts between homosexuals and falsely equate homosexuality with promiscuity,” adding that they’d gain more credibility on sexual issues if they devoted the same energy to “combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation by people in positions of power, and global sex slavery.” Hmm… Combating something that everyone agrees needs combating; what a novel concept!

Same-sex marriages skyrocketed last month, as gay couples plan their weddings around Pride celebrations. Because if it weren’t for that, no one would want a June wedding.

Well, have a great weekend kiddos, and Happy Independance Day to all my Stateside visitors. May it be nothing like the movie.

Montréal’s Gay Pride Parade Cancelled, Saved

June 18th, 2007

Beer Garden

Divers/Cité has completely turfed Montréal’s Gay Pride parade after a survey suggested that the traditional gay rights march didn’t improve beer sales enough to justify the insurance and security costs.

Thankfully, upset community members came together last week to save the parade, which has now been scheduled for July 29th at 1pm, a week before the Divers/Cité festival. A new non-profit organisation, Célébrations LGBTA Montréal, has been formed to control the event.

Hmm… I wonder what priority the Divers/Cité festival planners would give beer sales today if it weren’t for past parades?

Pride™

August 9th, 2006

Trademark

The word Pride™ has been trademarked by several of Canada’s Pride™ organisations, as some small promoters have discovered.

Jamie Lee Hamilton was delivered a letter from the Vancouver Pride™ Society informing her that she would have to pay $65 to promote her events ManPride and TrannyPride this summer. Jim Deva, a Vancouver bookstore owner, thinks the whole concept is ridiculous.

I don’t think the Vancouver Pride Society board was elected to be the Pride police. The whole concept of this Pride policing is not healthy at all. It will not increase diversity. Some people will be acceptable and other people won’t. I find that the dangerous sort of part of the whole thing.

Pride™ Toronto, the organisation spearheading this movement, said that they trademarked the word Pride™ as a protection from big business.

As for my thoughts… I’ve been a proud™ attendant of many Pride™ events in the™ past, and I’m personally™ in disagreement™ that the word™ Pride™ is something™ that requires™ protection™.

Pride Week Quiz

June 12th, 2006

Pride Week Quiz

It’s that time of year! Cities everywhere are celebrating Pride, and Canada’s largest, Toronto Pride Week, is exactly one week away! But one urban university—located a stone-throw away from the heart of Toronto’s vibrant gay community—is celebrating in a very special way.

Ryerson University will be presenting an honorary degree to notoriously anti-gay lobbyist, Margaret Somerville. And they’ve scheduled it to coincide with the Pride Week opening ceremonies. How thoughtful!

Anyway, Margaret—actually, shall we call her Margey? Margey is an “ethicist” and played a vital role in the equal marriage debate’s losing anti-gay side. Uh, let me see if I can recall her arguments here…

Margaret Somerville

Oh, yes, of course. Margey claimed that children of same-sex parents (whom she calls “gaybies,” I kid you not) lose their fundamental human rights through same-sex marriage. Oh, but “civil unions” for same-sex couples are OK with her. You know, because “civil unioned” couples can provide so much more for children than couples under the “marriage” label.

Regardless, students at Ryerson University have started an online petition to disinvite Margey from receiving the honorary degree. I wish them the best of luck. Because otherwise anything an “ethicist” says must be true, right?