Mayoral Candidate Compares Gay Flag To Nazi Flag
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.