Thoughts on Toronto’s pride parade

Cord
Jefferson recently published an engaging article in The Root entitled,
Where’s
the Pride in Pride Parades

Cord’s
point – the rather tenuous association of pride parades to Martin
Luther King’s freedom marches of the 1960s aside – struck a chord
with me as he was supporting what I’ve been saying for years (see
here).

The
truth is there is no
pride
in pride parades. There’s a hyper-sexualized air, certainly.
There’s outrageousness, absolutely. There’s rampant
commercialism, yes. But pride? … hardly.

Toronto’s
own version of the annual gawkfest was a week ago. Millions attended
as always – and came to watch the spectacle despite rain and
Toronto’s now two week old garbage strike.

The
parade reinforces stereotypes and –isms that do exist within our
community and inflates them so that the external viewer assumes they
are the
entire
community. What the parade lacks, pride aside, is the one thing
humans need to be seen as equal in the eyes of a majority: respect.

So
what to do?

Cancel
the parade? Doubtful, it’s an institution and the rampant
commercialism is needed to help fund a city that is broke. And
besides, the cadre of –isms that currently have a strangle-hold on
organizing the parade would be agog at the thought of cancelling the
once-a-year public celebration of their fetishes. We’d have
choruses of ‘it’s my right’ and umpteen filings to challenge
Section Fifteen of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

(rolls
eyes)

The
real solution lies within. It lies with the silent majority of
“post-gay” gays out there who know the harm the parade is doing
to the movement but remain silent. The solution lies with us
infiltrating the cadre of gay activists that currently own the parade
and who continue to put on a spectacle completely unrepresentative of
us.

We’re
a year out from the next spectacle. Now’s the time to get on board
and champion a parade with the pride and respect we deserve.


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One Response to Thoughts on Toronto’s pride parade

  1. christao408 says:

    Yeah, I see what you are saying and agree that a lot of what we see during gay pride doesn’t really show a lot of pride.  It has been a few years (at least four) since my last parade in SF, but I recall that it included huge contingents of gay parents, gay teachers, parents and friends of gays, etc.  People who were really, truly reflecting pride in who they were by all definitions.  If I recall correctly, those contingents received the loudest applause from the crowd.

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