Pride Toronto ban on QuAIA worst case of censorship in history of parade, says Queer Ontario founder

After extensive lobbying of Pride Toronto, corporate sponsors and city officials by Martin Gladstone and right-wing Jewish groups, Pride Toronto's Board decided, by a vote of 4 - 3, to disallow the use of the term "Israeli Apartheid" at the 2010 Pride festivities. At a press conference in Toronto on May 25, 2010, Pride Toronto's Executive Director and several Board members were met by 150 outraged protesters chanting "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Censorship has got to go!", "Politics are what makes pride, we won't run, we won't hide", "Whose pride? Our pride! Queers against Apartheid!", and "Resign!"

Members of Queer Ontario ( participated in the free speech protests. In this interview, Queer Ontario founder Nick Mulé explains more than two decades of historical attempts to censor LGBT activists at Toronto's Pride Parades beginning with conservatives not being comfortable with drag queens. But, he calls this year's decision the most overt case of censorship.

"Just taking this leap to say that we are going to outright ban this so that we can appease these people, without taking into consideration that the very community this event has been put on for and that the fact that we created this event from very political times in our history, was not very well thought out, unfortunately. I think it was quite ill-conceived, and as a result, they [Pride Toronto] have kind of positioned themselves to become censors in essence and, of course, that's not going to go very well with many in our community and they created a whole new problem for themselves on the eve of Pride as we head into the eleventh hour."

Mulé offers a way out of the censorship fiasco: "They [Pride Toronto] are in a tough spot, by all means. But there is a way to deal with this. There is a way to kind of slow things down, open up the dialogue, try to get as many people educated as possible so that we can come to an understanding of this. And even at the end of the day, if we find that we just can't quite agree with that position, whatever that position may be, we do have to respect freedom of speech. We have to respect the fact that people come from different perspectives. We are not a monolithic community and we have to make room for diversity.

He says that Pride Toronto "could have turned to us as a community." He warns that "if this ban continues to go through, I don't know whether confidence in the Board and staff of Pride Toronto can be sustained."

Video production: Anita Krajnc for rabbletv, May 27, 2010

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.