OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Mayors
Greg Davis, a socially-conservative Mississippi mayor, has come out to the press after an audit into city spending discovered that he spent $67 at Priape, a Montreal-owned gay adult store. The audit was part of a larger investigation into over $170,000 of misused city funds that Davis is alleged to have been spent on personal purchases.
Davis focused his political career on a conservative, “family values” platform—which, historically speaking, should have been enough to out him as gay. And, while misusing thousands and thousands of tax dollars on personal expenses is certainly not very befitting of a mayor, I do give him a tiny bit of credit over other outed conservatives for not following the usual convention of concocting some outlandish explanatory story in a transparent attempt to cover up his gayness.
No word on what David actually bought at Priape while in Canada, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a snappy new belt from their fashion line.
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 It famously rescinded a Gay Pride proclamation in the early 90s following angry public demonstrations.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!
- Nenshi first Calgary mayor to lead Gay Pride parade [Globe and Mail]
It’s civic election day in Toronto today, and the polls indicate a dead heat. By the end of the day, the new mayor of Canada’s largest city will likely either be George Smitherman, who happens to be gay, or Rob Ford, who has been featured on this site twice for ridiculous, homophobic conduct.
Having no patience for intolerance, it should go without saying that I would prefer Smitherman to win over Ford. There are, of course, those that would prefer otherwise—and while they’re of course entitled to vote for whomever they choose, some of their messages have taken a turn for blatantly homophobic.
Catholic Insight, a politically-motivated religious publication, heartily endorsed Ford over Smitherman last week, calling Smitherman “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, that of homosexuality.” While the publication tried to remain as polite in phrasing as possible, there was nothing civil about it. “While those attracted to same sex orientation have the right to be treated with dignity like all other persons,” their endorsement stated, “they should not be appointed or elected to leadership positions.”
Gosh, how respectful of them. We gays are perfectly entitled to human dignity, so long as we not take any initiative on any public matters and remain as isolated and invisible as possible. Still, at least Catholic Insight had the decency to use their own name to deliver their hateful message that gays are inferior, incapable as role models, and shouldn’t be elected to any position of influence. Late last week, an anonymously produced, paid radio ad began airing on the Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation. Translated, it begins thus:
- Man #1
- Elder brother, who are you going to vote for?
- Man #2
- (Snickers dismissively) What a question! We are Tamil. We have a religion, a culture. Take Rob Ford, he is married to a woman.
Meanwhile, near Victoria Park, crudely-designed posters began to appear overtop of existing election signs asking “Should a Muslim vote for him who married a man?”
Calling the ads “blatantly homophobic,” George Smitherman issued a statement to the press. “I will remain focused on offering a Toronto that finds strength in our diversity and builds for the future, not divides,” he said.
The Rob Ford campaign, meanwhile, posted a response on Twitter. “I do not condone the recent Tamil Radio ad,” the campaign stated, “I support diversity & have no issue with others’ lifestyle choices.”
Uh, OK. Except being gay isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” And, frankly, from Ford’s past actions as a city councilman, he very clearly doesn’t believe that gay people should have the same legal rights as straight people, let alone think the gay community should receive any city support or recognition for its renowned cultural events.
Toronto’s a great city that deserves a great mayor. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you guys today!
Sherry Clymer, a first-time mayoral candidate in Ajax, Ontario, is feeling a little out of her league after lashing out at the incumbent mayor during a public debate late last week.
Clymer, a former taxi dispatcher, triggered media controversy on Thursday when she attacked mayor Steve Parrish for raising a rainbow flag during Pride Week in June. “What makes the gays any more deserving of their flag hanging than anyone else?” she asked the mayor, adding that he should “also be hanging up the Nazi flag.”
This rather silly line of reasoning has been used before. In 2008, Allister MacDonald, a councilor from Nova Scotia’s Pictou County, said that raising a gay pride flag would inevitably lead to flying “everybody’s flag.” “It could be the Nazi party or the bikers,” MacDonald illustrated, “it could be anyone.” Just a year before that, mayor Bill Mills of Truro, Nova Scotia, made up a flag for his slippery slope argument. “If I have a group that says pedophiles should have rights, do we raise their flag too?” he asked.
Now, this should go without saying, but flying the rainbow stripes during the community’s gay pride week doesn’t mean you then have to fly Nazi and pedophile flags. The latter doesn’t even exist, for one, and I can’t imagine that the Ajax city hall has ever received a request to fly a Nazi flag once in the entire history of the town. But, forgetting all that, if you honestly can’t think of a good reason to not place symbols of genocide and child rape at the forefront of your town, you’re not a very fit mayor.
In a media interview meant to regain favour after the incident, Ms. Clymer apologised for her Nazi remark, clarifying that she didn’t mean to compare gays to Nazis; she just simply opposes any recognition of the struggles and achievements of the city’s gay community. “What is so good about being gay?” she asked rhetorically during her apology interview. “If you are promoting entering the gay lifestyle, that’s wrong.”
And this is what all these stories boil down to. Ignorance.
First, let’s get this nonsense about “entering the gay lifestyle” out of the way. Gay people lead all sorts of different lives; they have different careers, different hobbies, and like different activities. Sexual orientation is a trait, not a lifestyle. It’s innate, unchangeable, and no more possible to “promote entering” than the tall lifestyle or the blue-eyed lifestyle.
It’s clear to me that raising the Pride flag isn’t what Ms. Clymer likes to think it is. It’s not a recruitment tool because there’s nothing to recruit for. It’s simply a gesture of recognition on the part of city hall. Recognition that the gay community, as diverse as it is, universally has to put up with exactly this sort of nonsense nonstop, and a simple gesture that everyone in the town, including gay people, are valued for who they are. Gay people are a part of Ajax’s diverse community. If Ms. Clymer can’t value her constituents, she’s not ready to be mayor.
Giorgio Mammoliti, a Toronto city councillor and mayoral candidate in the upcoming municipal election, has officially motioned to withdraw funding from Toronto Pride, one of North America’s largest gay pride festivals and a massive tourism boost for the city. Mammoliti’s proposal comes with a condition, however—a little ultimatum that would let him micromanage which groups are allowed to march in the Pride parade.
You see, Toronto Pride, like many gay groups, is currently involved in some community infighting. The sort of gay drama that would make a drag queen proud. Specifically, it’s over whether or not to vet parade banners to regulate exactly how tolerant versus free-speechy everything is—or something like that; I don’t know all the details.
What I do know is that Mammoliti, not satisfied with leaving the community to manage these things on its own like it always does, has decided to leverage the minor controversy and attempt the defunding of the festival from the city’s budget entirely.
The gist of the motion is this: If a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, whose controversial signs were a sore spot for some community members last year, is allowed to march in the Pride parade, then the City of Toronto’s 2010 “funding and support” of the festival will be revoked entirely.
Now, Mammoliti has a documented history of anti-gay attitudes. He once dismissed gay relationships in a discussion about human rights by declaring that our “body part’s aren’t complementary; they don’t fit together.” (Err… Should we explain it to him? I really hope that won’t require a diagram.)
He also went on to quote from a bizarre sado-masochism manual, as if all gay people—and no straight people—are into that sort of thing. “What does that say about the [gay] community?” he asked, rhetorically.
Not sure about that one, but it does makes me think. What do weaselly city council motions from Toronto mayoral candidates say about the suit-wearing community?
- It’s official: showdown at city hall over Pride funding [Xtra]
- Giorgio’s Same-Sex Media Flashback [Toronto Election News]
I love mayors. They’re inherently funny, like the head of a condo association—passionately seizing what amounts to no real power. And aren’t we in luck? There are two mayor stories today!
Bill Mills, the mayor of Truru, Nova Scotia (who you may remember for some earlier anti-gay shenanigans), is facing extra accusations of homophobia after declaring that gay men alone are responsible for a proposal to install a locked gate at Victoria Park, restricting hours for all residents. Many people are angry with the proposal, and while the park has a reputation of being shady (pun kind of intended), it has many problems, including drug dealers, underage drinking, and teenage hookups—not just gay cruising. Still, Mayor Mills has refused to withdraw or clarify his comments. The rest of the city council, meanwhile, has publicly distanced themselves from the mayor’s craziness.
In some better mayor-related news, our friends in Houston, Texas have reason to celebrate after electing their very first lesbian mayor! Annise Parker, an openly gay politician with a partner of 16 years and two adopted children, won with 53.6 percent of the vote in the normally über-conservative U.S. state. The voter turnout was one of the lowest in history, mind you, at just over 16 percent. But that’s just more proof that mayors are silly positions. Am I right?
Slap reader John Kelly writes in with a story that just can’t be made up.
Jim Naugle, The Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, is convinced that gay sex is rampant in the city’s beachfront restrooms. To counteract the alleged problem, the mayor has recommended the city invest a quarter million dollars into “Robo-Johns,” robotic toilets that swing the stall door open if a patron takes too long.
While crazy-expensive, mayor Naugle insisted that robotic toilets are the only way to protect children:
[Gay men] are engaging in sex. Anonymous sex. Illegal sex.
We’re trying to provide a family environment where people can take their children who need to use the bathroom without having to worry about a couple of men in there engaged in a sex act.
Hmm… Wouldn’t spring-loaded doors be more likely to expose potentially raunchy acts to unsuspecting restroom patrons? Oh well.
While the mayor praised the increased morality of robotic toilets, Sergeant Frank Sousa of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department painted a slightly different view of the situation: “There’s no evidence, no reports or arrests made for any men having sex in any restrooms.”
Interesting perspective. Still, I guess—to some—it’s better to spend a quarter million on automated toilet door launchers than take the word of the police department.
The Robo-Johns, which also play music and clean themselves, have yet to be approved by council.
- Fort Lauderdale Mayor Seeks Robotic Toilets To Curb Gays [365 Gay]
- Mayor demands robotic toilets to stop cruising [Pink News UK]
So what’s his top election issue? Timely road repairs? Discount transit fares for war veterans? Let’s take a look at his official platform’s opening paragraph:
As your mayor Bill Whatcott is committed to protecting Edmontonions from homofascism. Bill Whatcott loves children and he loves truth. He believes children have the God given right to have a mother and father and not have to be indoctrinated into embracing homosexuality by our public schools and media. [...] Homosexuality is wrong and as your Mayor, Bill Whatcott is committed to denouncing homosexuality, warning young people about the consequences of indulging in the practice and calling on those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle to repentance, forgiveness and healing through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Yes, that ought to resonate with the mainstream voter. Oh, and his campaign photo (I swear, this is all real) is a full-torso shot, arms folded behind the back for maximum legibility of his T-Shirt: “Sodomites will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven.”
Of course, though they may try, municipal leaders are about as powerful as multicoloured baby marshmallows when it comes to overriding civil rights. Given this, I think I’ll give Whatcott my full endorsement. Seriously, who’s in for a couple of years of hilarious “Edmonton’s frothy mayor” stories?
(A tip o’ the hat goes out to Pam Spaulding)
- Mayor Stephen Mandel is pro-homosexual Bill Whatcott is your pro-life, pro-family, pro-father, pro-gun, alternative [Whatcott Election Platform]