Pride Toronto to censor parade signs

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Doug
Pride Toronto to censor parade signs

All groups participating in this year's Pride Parade and Dyke March must have their signs approved by Pride Toronto, the organization announced yesterday.

 

It's transparently meant to avoid a repeat of last year's controversy over Queers Against Israeli Apartheid but the implications go far beyond that. Everyone's message will now need to be pre-approved with no clue as to what the criteria are.

Issues Pages: 
Skinny Dipper

I am wondering if corporate influence had any effect on the change in policy.

milo204

these ideas of having signs "approved" or having "designated protest zones" or all other restrictions on legit protest activity is ridiculous.  protest is a human right that no one should have the ability to dictate the terms of.

Bacchus

I agree milo except that it isn't the protesters parade. Its run and organized by someone else so they get to say what goes on in it. Its not limiting a human right at all since the protesters are free to organize their own parade (as was done for the dyke parade).

Unionist

Here's a Facebook group protesting this:

[url=http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=352762041138]Don't sanitize Pride: Free expression must prevail[/url]

Sineed

Are they going to use the same rationale for the Dyke Parade?  "All breasts must be approved by Pride Toronto before going on display..."

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

What's that smell? Did someone let a bureaucrat loose? Better go round it up before it gets into trouble.

The next thing you know, they are going to try to make sure that things are "tasteful".

The upside to all this is the likelihood it will inspire intense competition to see who can come up with the most inappropriate sign, I have high hopes.

I am sooooo glad I don't live in Toronto.

 

milo204

Bacchus wrote:

I agree milo except that it isn't the protesters parade. Its run and organized by someone else so they get to say what goes on in it. Its not limiting a human right at all since the protesters are free to organize their own parade (as was done for the dyke parade).

 

that's true, a parade and a protest are different things.  I guess i just look at pride as an inclusive, rather than exclusive event meant to celebrate the fact people can dare to  admit their differences, and it sucks to see something like that picking sides on international politics for whatever reason.

does anyone know why there is bad blood between the the organizers and the anti-apartheid folks?

Bacchus

Don't know if its bad blood so much as cowardice or a desire to not rock the 'semi-tolerant' mainstream that supplies funding to this event

Maysie Maysie's picture

Pride Toronto has gone through a de-radicalization in the entire time I've been out as queer. Some of it was based on real logistics. You can't host close to a million spectators and not have a need for more resources, plus dealing with city by laws, bla bla bla. The inevitable result is that government and corporate sponsors make demands that must be adhered to. This is aka "selling out" of course. 

So, gone are the days of jumping in to join the parade, which was called a "march" when I came out in the early 90s, by the way. And jumping back out whenever. Gone are the days of people just marching, now you can't march without being affiliated with a group, and registering beforehand. This new draconian measure will fail, will cause Pride great embarrassment which they richly deserve, and will hopefully make them re-evaluate their priorities if enough activists speak and act against it.

The shift was from making Pride less about the participants and making it more about the sponsors. Of course you need barricades down Yonge street for the Coor's giant flatbed truck float, and the MAC cosmetic float and the Absolut vodka float. When it was just people, with the occasional truck with speakers and music, like the Dyke March is now, there were fewer safety issues.

There might have been ways to grow as a festival and still retain the grassroots and political/activist origins, but sadly the leadership of Toronto's queer community has not been populated with activists in the past almost 20 years, despite regular attempts at takeovers by the highly classified queer undercover troublemakers' association. But that's ok. Queer West and AlternaQueer events is where most of us go in recent years.

Unionist

milo204 wrote:

does anyone know why there is bad blood between the the organizers and the anti-apartheid folks?

I don't know any of the individuals concerned, but I'd be surprised if it could be reduced and individualized to "bad blood".

Is there "bad blood" between the anti-apartheid folks and Cheri DiNovo (or rather, was there before her ugly speech)?

Is there "bad blood" between the Toronto District School Board and the anti-apartheid folks?

What there is, is an enormous overwhelming, draconian campaign by the ruling classes in this country to suppress criticism of Israel. There's a huge message out there that if you associate yourself with attacks on Israel, you'll lose respectability, you'll lose funding, you'll be out of the "mainstream", you'll be marginalized, you'll be called "anti-semitic", if not worse. Anyone who forgets that victory comes through solidarity risks being affected by those threats.

aka Mycroft

Are there any grounds for a complaint to the ontario human rights commission?

Michelle

For what?

Unionist

aka Mycroft wrote:

Are there any grounds for a complaint to the ontario human rights commission?

Tingly spine advice - don't go there. You'll get a counter-complaint about hate speech. Talk about opening cans of worms. These are battles that must be fought in the thick of the movement.

... besides the fact that, why would you want to establish "free speech" as a right in every demonstration with a privately obtained permit? You want the JDL to enforce their "right" to join our marches and meetings?

Stargazer

bagkitty wrote:

What's that smell? Did someone let a bureaucrat loose? Better go round it up before it gets into trouble.

The next thing you know, they are going to try to make sure that things are "tasteful".

The upside to all this is the likelihood it will inspire intense competition to see who can come up with the most inappropriate sign, I have high hopes.

I am sooooo glad I don't live in Toronto.

 

 

Aw but bagkitty, you will be here for the Pride 2014 oui? I will be!!

aka Mycroft

The difference here is that QUAIA members and supporters are presumably members of Pride Toronto and thus their rights as organization members may be being infringed as apart from outsiders attempted to crash someone else's demo.

Unionist

aka Mycroft wrote:

The difference here is that QUAIA members and supporters are presumably members of Pride Toronto and thus their rights as organization members may be being infringed as apart from outsiders attempted to crash someone else's demo.

Ok, I wasn't thinking of that angle - but it's still a private matter. If we're in a rock music appreciation club and the chair of the monthly meeting throws you out when you try to talk about Israeli apartheid, I don't think you have any recourse - unless there's some contractual relationship, and you can patch together a civil suit. "Freedom of speech" doesn't apply here. I recognize that out in the street it's trickier, but where parade permits are in force, especially where they're used to allow marchers to use the streets and bar traffic etc., I think you're at the mercy of the permit holders.

If you carried a sign along the sidewalk parallel to the parade without interfering with anyone, and some authority tried to stop you, then you've got lots of recourse.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I don't think anyone should be expressing much surprise... if you go to the linked article and scroll down to the reproduction of the original statement by Pride Toronto (the copy in italics) you will see the following:

Quote:
About Pride Toronto:
Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts Pride Week, an annual festival held during the first weekend of July in downtown Toronto. Pride Toronto exists to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities and is one of the leading cultural events of its kind in the world with a total economic benefit in 2009 of $136 million.

Toronto's Pride Week has previously been named Best Festival in Canada by the Canadian Special Events Industry and is recognized as one of only eight Signature Events in the City of Toronto. It is ranked one of the TOP 50 festivals in Ontario by Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) as well as one of the 18 Marquee Festivals of Distinction in Canada. With attendance of over 1,2 million, it is the third largest Pride celebration in the world and the largest in North America.

">http://www.pridetoronto.com

It is obviously about "the total economic benefits! The mistake is to think that Pride is supposed to represent the interests of the LGBTTIQQ2SA communities, rather it addresses the interest of the CSW2FMQB-CSDTM community (+BP)* It is all a matter of being able to decipher the alphabet soup of acronyms.

I particularly like the reference (in the second paragraph quoted above, to the "Special Events Industy" - really, it warms the cockles of my heart to know there is a whole "Industry" devoted to this.

 

*Corporate Sponsors Willing To Fund Marginally Questionable Behaviour (so long as the) Corporate Sponsors Define The Margins (and their Bureaucratic Peers)


 

Maysie Maysie's picture

bagkitty, I'm so coming to Calgary Pride and we are so getting drunk together.

Tongue out

Doug

Artists to Pride Toronto: Freedom of expression should be offensive

Pride Toronto developing "free expression policy"

 

I'm not sure what sort of policy is involved in free expression, but there it is.

 

GreekLove

As long as I find some HOT guys whose pants come down after a few drinks, I don't care WHAT signs are allowed!

oldgoat

The dude's gone

spatrioter

Xtra: Were Pride Toronto's focus groups stacked?

Quote:
Focus groups conducted by conservative PR firm Navigator discussed censoring Parade participants less than two months before Pride Toronto's botched signage announcement.

Now, focus group participant Cathy Gulkin is charging that the focus groups were "stacked" and "not representative of the community." She says four of the 10 women in her pool were there to call for the censorship of signs about political, non-queer issues and denounced Queers Against Israeli Aparthied (QuAIA)'s participation in the 2009 Parade.

Michelle

How not surprising.

Skinny Dipper

From Xtra: Jewish group pushes Pride Toronto to condemn "anti-Israel hate groups"

[President and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center--Canada, Avi] Benlolo insists that criticism of Israel is the first step towards violence against Jewish people.

Hmm, it's not OK to criticize Israel.

takeitslowly

Last pride in Toronto, i was not part of the march.  I have never joined in the march, but i've always watched. So last year, i bought a magnetic drawing white board and wrote the words "queers against israelie aparthied" in big letters along the side of the march where i  walked passed the passerby.. some body yelld at me "hey i am jewish, asshole" or something like that

 

I also redid my drawing board and wrote things like "calling transsexuals shemales is just as offensive as calling gays faggot" and also "bring OMAR back to Canada " and some strnager asked me who Omar is.

 

I found it really empowering that i answer to no one, not the pride organizers, or anyone else, i am a one person march using the pride occasion to champion my causes.

i will do it again this year..anyone up for it? no one can censor me. i am not part of the march. I dont agree with the celebratory/coporate mood of the pride march, i am more the aggressive or less optimistic type.

Michelle

Wow, he's even going beyond the usual "party line" that criticism of Israel is okay as long as you don't "cross a line" (which of course is never defined - you just get snide insinuations that you might have crossed it but never any concrete evidence of it.)  Now it's simply that you can't criticize Israel at all:

Quote:

Benlolo insists that criticism of Israel is the first step towards violence against Jewish people so, in a respectful, lively debate, I quizzed him about FSWC's assertion that “it remains to be seen whether or not Jewish gay rights activists will be welcomed at a joyous celebration of gay pride, or intimidated by antisemitic thugs hiding behind the banner of human rights.”

That's what he's calling QuAIA.  "Anti-semetic thugs". 

What a total idiot.

Ken Burch

Well...there's always the option of starting an ALTERNATE parade. 

which would end up being the one everyone wanted to watch in the end anyway.

 

 

Michelle

There are lots of alternative pride events in the city.  Queer West comes to mind.  Lots of progressive folks go to the alternate events anyhow.  But that doesn't mean that people should cede ground for the big events.  It's pretty bad when corporations are co-opting and taking it over, and pro-Apartheid groups who never gave a fuck about queer rights before are demanding to be the arbiters of what should and shouldn't be allowed in the event.

Ken Burch

It sounds like this parade has been taken over by something like a Canadian version of our Log Cabin Club(the gay Republican organization...and yes, if it sounds like "Chickens for Colonel Sanders", it pretty much is.)

Is there a group like that in the Tories?  I know there are some token gay Tory mp's, but I'm not sure if there's actually an organization promoting the idea that part of that community should work within Canada's Party Of Hate.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

On another tangent, let's start a pool. How long until Toronto Pride (Inc.) starts doing an International Olympic Committee (Inc.) and starts suing people for misappropiating the name and symbols?

Ken Burch

Will Amy Goodman be delayed at the Detroit-Windsor border and asked repeatedly if she plans to speak about the Pride Parade?

Skinny Dipper

If Amy Goodman decides to come to Toronto, she may be prevented from entering Canada depending on when she chooses to come.  If it's before the G20 summit in Toronto, she won't get in.  If it's after, she might have a chance.

Skinny Dipper

I hate it when I find an article on the interet about Israel one day, and then the next day, I can't find it.

While Israel has problems between the Israelis and Palestinians, it may eventually have problems among the Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Jews, and secular Jews (who are officially Orthodox).  They will be fighting over who should live in certain homes and neighbourhoods.

Tommy_Paine

Focus groups conducted by conservative PR firm Navigator discussed censoring Parade participants less than two months before Pride Toronto's botched signage announcement.

 

I'm not sure if Navigator could be considered "conservative".   I think they will work for anyone who will pay them.  I work with small "c" and capital "C" conservatives;  my ex wife's in laws were Reformers, and while I may have, and will have vibrant dissagreements with them, they were and are decent, respectable people, who were not abject, morally debased cowards for hire.

So, not that I'm in the habit of deffending conservatives, I have to bristle at the suggestion that "Navigator" is in fact "conservative".

It is something else that I don't have the vocabulary to describe.

 

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

bagkitty wrote:
 On another tangent, let's start a pool. How long until Toronto Pride (Inc.) starts doing an International Olympic Committee (Inc.) and starts suing people for misappropiating the name and symbols?

Too late.

Every year Pride Toronto prints a free "Pride Festival Guide". Xtra Magazine has also been producing a "pride guide". Around 7 or 10 years ago, Pride Toronto got the copywrite on the phrase "Official Pride Festival Guide" or something like that. In 2004 I think, I volunteered on a committee to bring in Dan Savage and Anne-Marie Macdonald for a panel on queer parenting, and it was there that I  learned the distinction, which seemed to be *very important* to the Pride Toronto folks on the committee. And I also believe the phrase "Pride Toronto" is owned, so nobody can legally reproduce that phrase either. Why they would want to is yet another question.

spatrioter

Zionists have been pressuring Pride Toronto's funders over the past year to get them to implement this censorship policy.

If you don't support censorship, here's a one-minute e-mail action to let these sponsors know how you feel: www.tinyurl.com/tps10

Doug
remind remind's picture

spatrioter wrote:
, here's a one-minute e-mail action to let these sponsors know how you feel: www.tinyurl.com/tps10 

 

 

Done, and thanks for the link, hopefully more take the time to too......

Skinny Dipper

I will agree with aka Mycroft about the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.  There seems to be less focus on getting people to remember the Holocaust and more on advocating for Israel.

On the issue of the Pride Parade, if the QuAIA are not allowed to participate in the parade, they must decide what options to take.  They can try to infiltrate the parade, they can see if there is enough support from other parade participants to boycott the parade.  That might be iffy.  They can agree to participate but not have signs that may be deemed negative toward Israel.  They might go with other options if they can think of any.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Maysie... okay, Pride Toronto and International Olympic Committee, same bureaucratic logic, got it... this is precisely the kind of thing that makes me recall the Situationist gloss on Diderot:

Quote:
Humanity won't be happy till the last lawyer is hung with the guts of the last bureaucrat.

Not that I am entirely without sympathy for the organizers... I have enough experience trying to organize events that were supposed to be for the LGBT communities "as a whole" to know that herding cats is easy in comparison... but to cave in to pressure from outside organizations to control how people within the communities want to organize and present themselves? Is it that hard to write a non-committal letter back to the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and suggest that if there are LGBT members of their organization who wish to participate as a delegation in the march they are quite welcome to follow the regular procedures?

 

aka Mycroft

Maysie wrote:

On Facebook, someone just linked to this leaked email received by Pride TO from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre. 

jpg link here

 

It's quite outrageous that Simon Wiesenthal's name has been appropriated in this way by his "Friends". Wiesenthal had, at best, an ambivalent view towards Israel and Zionism and while I wouldn't go as far as to say he was an "anti-Zionist" I doubt that he'd share the view the FSWC has been promoting in recent years conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism or, in particular, moving the Simon Wiesenthal's focus away from anti-Nazism and Holocaust remembrance to Israel advocacy.

Skinny Dipper

In Israel, Jews and Arabs are equal. I think?

Israel: Arab family denied right to rent home: by Jonathan Cook

Mrs Zakai said: "If Jews were being denied the right to live somewhere, it would be a scandal, but because our friends are Arabs no one cares."


Arab discrimination is happening in Israel proper.

 

UPDATE: original link for article.

aka Mycroft

Open letter to the Community

Quote:
The Board of Directors of Pride Toronto has listened to feedback from the community, and the proposed plan for an Ethics Committee to review and approve all messaging prior to the Parade, Dyke and Trans March has been withdrawn. The process followed during the 2009 festival will remain in place for 2010.

This summer as we recognize 30 years of expressing our pride, we hope you will join us to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities.

Issued by:
Board of Directors, Pride Toronto

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

thanks for posting that Mycroft - glad to see things resolved in this fashion, here is hoping they don't try a similar thing in the future

aka Mycroft

bagkitty wrote:

thanks for posting that Mycroft - glad to see things resolved in this fashion, here is hoping they don't try a similar thing in the future

I'm sure Pasternak and Gladstone will come up with something. Their problem is they're such blunt instruments and clumsy manoeuvrists that anything they try is so heavy handed that it collapses under the weight of their arrogance.

remind remind's picture

aka, do you think this is do the responses they got from the email petition call to action?

As I received several letters back from sponsors, telling me most definitely they would not be interfering with parade signs and would be continuing to fund just as things have always been.

Ken Burch

Doesn't setting up a "Museum of Tolerance" suggest that tolerance is a thing of the past?

And would the museum gift shop sell items like "My Parents Went To The Museum of Tolerance and now I have to put up with this t-shirt"?

NDPP

Toronto Could Pull Pride Parade Funds If QuAIA Involved

http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19193&It...

"Reached last week by email Elle Flanders, a spokesperson for QuAIA, told the CJN that her group will be submitting an application to march. Flanders wrote that as a Jew who grew up in Israel, she was 'personally not interested in being represented by homophobes like Mammoliti.' She added: ' I am further embarassed at the breakdown of democratic process when it comes to criticism of Israel's state policy. Mammoliti's motion is without basis: criticism of Israel does not equal hate. Crying anti-Semitism where it does not exist is harmful to the Jewish community.'

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement last week supporting Mammoliti's motion, calling on the city to use the 'window of opportunity' to do the right thing and prevent hate groups like QuAIA from fomenting hatred and discord in the annual parade...'"

As for the 'Friends..' check them out.

FOSWC

http://www.fswc.ca

Museum of Tolerance:

http://www.haaretz.com/magazine/museum-of-tolerance-special-report/museu...

Perhaps MP Bob Rae can be of assistance as he's quite tight with this organization, its aims and objectives..

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Ken, maybe they should rename it "The Preserve of Tolerance" (as in game preserve). Then people can come visit it, nicely contained under glass bell jars. Things are so much more "antiseptic" when kept under glass. :rolleyes:

Ken Burch

And the gift shop could sell jars of "Tolerable Preserves".   They may not totally agree with you, but you'll be able to keep them down after awhile.