Archive for May, 2010

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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.

Sincerely,

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Will City Council follow Harper’s lead by cutting Pride funding?

May 10, 2010

MOTION TO CUT CITY FUNDING FOR PRIDE TORONTO TO BE DEBATED THIS WEEK

A motion submitted by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7 – York West) will be debated at this weekʼs city council meeting, which will threaten city funding for Pride Toronto, North Americaʼs largest festival for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community.

Mammolitiʼs anti-gay voting record goes back to 1994 when, as an MPP, he spoke out against his own partyʼs same-sex spousal rights legislation in the Ontario Legislature. He put forward this weekʼs motion in response to the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) in last yearʼs Pride parade.

The motion comes just days after the Harper Conservative government announced that it would no longer provide funds to the annual Pride Toronto festival through its tourism grants program.

“Mammoliti has never been a friend of the LGBT community, and this motion is just a desperate ploy for attention from a fringe mayoral candidate,” says Tim McCaskell, member of QuAIA.

The LGBT community will be watching to see whether city councillors follow Harperʼs lead on Pride funding or reject Mammolitiʼs anti-gay motion.

Councillor Mammoliti’s Motion

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Hey Elton, call it off!

May 9, 2010

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid member, filmmaker John Greyson, has produced this music video request for Elton John to cancel his upcoming concert in Israel.