OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Rob Ford

Today’s the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a magical day where anything can happen—including a public endorsement by… Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?  There can only be one explanation: A Dickensian epiphany, ghosts and all. A Merry International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia to everyone!

Toronto Councillor Tapes Parade, Tries To De-Fund Pride

July 4th, 2011

Queers AGainst Douchey City Councillors

I hope all my friends in Toronto partied it up at Pride over the weekend, because it could be seriously jeopardized if a Toronto city councillor gets his way!

Giorgio Mammoliti—along with his bestest friend in the whole-wide-world, mayor Rob Ford—wants to take Toronto Pride off the books and into the gutter. I guess he’s got somewhat of a grudge against the annual, weeklong GLBT culture festival and equal rights protest. The festival, Canada’s largest of its kind, is a massive tourist draw, bringing in millions of tourism dollars every year. It has always faced some opposition from various people, largely homophobic, who don’t really understand what the festival is all about, but Mammoliti seems to have a very special vendetta.

Funding from the city for Pride was held hostage this year unless a minor participant in the parade portion of the weeklong festival is banned from marching. That participant is a small group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, whose controversial message has been a wee bit of a sticking point for some. The group, not wanting to jeopardize Toronto Pride, promised they would not participate in any official Toronto Pride events.

Now, I doubt that Mammoliti and Ford really care about QAIA’s controversy. Their concern about the group really seems like a diversion—an issue over which they can ostensibly express outrage, leveraging it to achieve a goal they’ve had long before QAIA was even in the mix: The de-funding of Toronto’s Pride festival.

Rob Ford, in addition to having a long record of opposing equal rights for gays, is the first mayor in years to have been a no-show at the festival. Mammoliti was spotted filming the Dyke March on Saturday, searching for a screw-up—a defiant QAIA member, perhaps—to use as evidence that the festival’s money should be withheld permanently. He says he caught exactly that on camera, and will present it as evidence to the mayor and city council to cut the festival’s money once and for all.

So what will happen to Toronto Pride? If it’s funding is withheld, it’ll have to file for bankruptcy, and Canada’s largest celebration of GLBT culture and progress will face some serious downsizing. Downsizing of a scale that Ford’s influence over the city should face come the next election!

Toronto Approves Pride Funding, With Caveats

May 27th, 2011

Rob Ford marches in a Pride parade.

Despite threats from Toronto’s mayor to pull its funding, a city council committee has unanimously voted to continue supporting the city’s annual Pride festival.

Toronto Pride is Canada’s largest Pride celebration—a massive tourist draw, and one of the city’s largest festivals overall. Mayor Rob Ford had threatened to pull all city funding from the festival, however, due to a stupid controversy over a minor participant in the parade portion of the festival’s weeklong events. That participant, a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, had already indicated that they would not participate this year, but Rob Ford still refused to provide funding, saying that he may grant money after the festival was finished and there was proof that QAIA had not participated.

Now, this committee decision doesn’t really change Rob Ford’s douchey antics—the city will still only pay money after the festival, and only on condition that the group doesn’t march, but at least there is some formal assurance that the money is coming. Committee members have also provided assurance that having a single rogue member of the group wearing a T-Shirt during the parade, or some other unauthorized minor participation, would not result in funding being pulled; only full participation would make the council reconsider the funds.

I guess Toronto Pride needs to find some new drama now. Personally, I suggest the Montréal approach: Foster a silly internal rift until the event gets split into two competing weeklong events, making the summer twice as gay!

Toronto Mayor Holds Pride Hostage

April 18th, 2011

Rob Ford, with Bambi eyes, declares "Trust me."

Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, has decided to cut all city funding to Toronto Pride, Canada’s largest gay pride festival (and one of biggest and most popular festivals overall) unless a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid is disallowed from marching in the parade portion of the weeklong festivities.

A bizarre (and stupid) controversy surrounding QAIA has been going on for a few years now, but this is the first time that the city council has taken to micromanaging Toronto Pride’s activities. In response, QAIA decided over the weekend that they will take the high road and voluntarily withdraw their group from the parade and seek an alternate (and more appropriate) venue—a good idea. Not good enough for Ford, though, who says that Toronto Pride’s funding is still off the table and will only be provided after the parade, once there is definitive proof that the group isn’t marching.

I wouldn’t take his word for it. Ford has wanted to cut Toronto Pride’s funding for years—well before he became mayor, and well before QAIA was ever in the public consciousness. In leveraging a stupid controversy over a minor participant in just one of Toronto Pride’s weeklong events, Ford has found a convenient way to achieve his goal without it seeming like the plain homophobia it is.

In the meantime, Pride organizers are now left with the difficult task of planning one of Canada’s largest festivals without knowing their own budget. And with no help from the feds (we all remember what happened after the last time they decided to help the festival), I think we’ll be seeing Pride Toronto—one of Toronto’s largest tourist draws—scaled back substantially in the years to come.

Toronto Mayor Threatens To Pull Pride Funding

March 9th, 2011

Queers Against Llamas

Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, has announced that he will deny $100,000 in funding for this year’s Pride Week celebrations—unless the parade portion of the festival excludes a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from marching.

For some time now, Toronto Pride has been entangled in a ridiculous controversy that I don’t particularly care to understand. On one side, there appears to be people like Rob Ford, who feel privileged enough to decide which segments of the GLBT community can and cannot participate in their own parade; on the other side there’s QAIA, who is using an event intended to be a celebration of GLBT culture, struggles, and achievements as a venue for an unrelated political message.

Such drama. Such dumb, dumb drama. Is there a side that doesn’t deserve a slap?

Either way, now that I’ve officially touched this landmine, I believe I will start a new group: Queers Against Unrelated Issues And Douchey Mayors.

Toronto Mayoral Race Turns Homophobic

October 25th, 2010

A man pastes a poster for Rob Ford. "Not Gay, Assasinated Jesse James," it says. Meanwhile a passerby says "You're an idiot."

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!

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.

City Councilor Explodes Over AIDS Funding

July 5th, 2006

Toronto's City Council Votes

Have you ever wondered how a crazy, anti-gay city councilor would react to AIDS prevention programs? Well, wonder no longer, folks! Rob Ford, a Toronto city councilor, voted against granting city funds toward AIDS education. And while that’s not particularly shocking, his five minute, on-the-record, angry rant is magnificently loony:

There are people dying every day of cancer, diabetes—all the other diseases. Why are we catering to [AIDS groups]? It’s very preventable! If you’re not doing needles and you’re not gay, you won’t get AIDS, probably. That’s the bottom line! And that’s preventable.

The general public does not agree with this [motion]. They think it’s a complete farce, ridiculous! This is so embarrassing!

Uh, yeah, because there’s nothing quite like ranting about the GRIDS to argue against funding for AIDS education.

Anyway, after Robby’s five minutes of angry time, the other councilors cut off his mic. Kyle Rae, the gay councilor whom Robby ridiculed for “condoning” AIDS funding, had this on-the-record response:

I don’t think it is worthy of this council to respond to the comments we heard a few moments ago. There are some who can be educated, and some who cannot.

Good on ya, Kyle. Oh, and the motion to fund AIDS education passed overwhelmingly.