Ottawa School Board Criticized Over Pride Parade Plans
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board will be marching in the Capital Pride Parade for the first time this weekend. It’s a great way to send a message to all the board’s GLBT students and staff that it takes their unique issues seriously, but not everyone is happy with the gesture.
Amidst a load of the typical, thinly-veiled homophobic arguments ostensibly concerned about “wasting tax-payer’s money” and “supporting lewd public acts,” board trustee, Donna Blackburn, spoke to the media in support of the Pride participation: “My number one priority is student success,” she said. “When kids feel safe and secure in their learning environment, they do better.”
“The cost is minuscule,” Donna continued. “Everyone has to remember I’m a taxpayer, too, as well as the supportive parents whose children are gay.”
Donna also took the time to point out something that would be obvious to anyone who has actually, you know, attended a Pride parade: “The vast majority of people who attend the parade are fully-dressed,” she said. “You don’t put photos of normally-dressed people on the front page of a newspaper.”
Now, I’ve only been to about seven Pride parades or so (and mostly here in Montréal), but I’m convinced that if everyone who insists the parades are lewd, full of nudity, and contain “simulated sex acts” were forced to watch one from start to finish, they’d be positively bored with the reality compared to what their imagination must’ve been anticipating. It’s fairly tame, and particularly so when compared to… say, Mardi Gras. (An event that I think I’ll start using to judge the entire straight community.)
So good on you, Ottawa-Carleson District School Board! Thanks for sending the message that you respect student safety more than the opinions of a handful of small-minded parents that like to belittle an already-harassed segment of your student population.