30 years of a censorship-free Pride in Toronto has come to an end

May 23, 2010

For the first time in its 30-year history, Pride Toronto has banned an LGBT community group from the parade. The board of directors voted on Friday to ban the words ‘Israeli Apartheid’ from any Pride events, including the Pride parade, dyke march, and trans march – directly targeting the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

This follows a year of intense pressure from Toronto City Hall (one of Pride’s main funders) and Israel lobbyists, who claim that criticisms of the Israeli government amount to hate and discrimination. By caving to their demands, Pride Toronto has not only silenced the voices of queer Palestinians and human rights activists —they have set a dangerous precedent for free expression in our community.

Send a message to Pride Toronto that ALL communities deserve to be heard in our Pride.

Call their offices to tell them no censorship at Toronto Pride:

Executive Director Tracey Sandilands: 416 927 7433 ext 222 tracey@pridetoronto.com
Director of Sponsorship & Grants Ryan Lester: 416 927 7433 ext 230 ryan@pridetoronto.com

Board members who voted to censor Queers Against Israeli Apartheid:
Margaret Ngai: margaret-ngai@pridetoronto.com
Genevieve D’Iorio: genevieve-diorio@pridetoronto.com
Mark Singh: mark-singh@pridetoronto.com
Daniel Knox: daniel-knox@pridetoronto.com

Sample Email

Dear Pride Toronto,

I am shocked by your reckless decision to censor free speech at Pride. This year is meant to celebrate 30 years of resistance and instead you have decided to make a mockery of our hard-won rights by banning an LGBT human rights group.

The ‘privilege’ to pick and choose who gets into the club is what denied us our rights for much too long.

My Pride is political! I know how I got here and I will not allow you to silence anyone. We are loud, proud and inclusive! That is what  makes our community strong and vibrant.