Saturday, July 03, 2010

Has Toronto's Gay Pride Parade Become More About The Party Than Politics?

"Toronto's Gay Pride Parade might be the city's biggest bash of the year, attracting millions of spectators who proudly come to wave rainbow flags and cheer. But as the event gets set to celebrate a landmark 30 years, some activists say the politics have become lost in the partying."

Ciara Byrne reports:
"An elite developed within the pride community, a wealthy elite that started to feel more of a benefit of this branding and this flowing of money from corporations,'' said Marusya Bociurkiw, an activist and professor at Ryerson University.

Bociurkiw, 52, has traded in the traditional march for barbecues in her backyard and discussions with friends, although this year she will join the march to protest the banning of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

But David Rayside, a professor of politics and sexual diversity studies at the University of Toronto, doesn't agree that the parade has lost its power. "For many people, it's just a party, for some it's an opportunity to be _ more than ever _ visible,'' said Rayside, as he argued the essence of the parade hasn't changed in 30 years.

"There are always some people for whom this Pride march is their first, and for whom it is a big, public step,'' said Rayside, pausing, "and that's as political as it ever has been.'' The parade has become especially important to new Canadians who may come from countries where gay and lesbians are discriminated against, Rayside said. READ MORE