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International grand marshals withdraw from Toronto Pride over censorship flap

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International grand marshals withdraw from Toronto Pride over censorship flap

Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini (pictured), who were appointed international grand marshals for Pride Toronto earlier this year, resigned the honours earlier this morning. 

"The decision to resign was motivated by the ban on the expression 'Israeli Apartheid' by the Board of Directors of the Toronto pride," they wrote in a statement from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). " One of the consequences of the ban is the exclusion of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the pride march."

All mention of them is already gone from Pride Toronto's website. 

The move comes as more than 20 past grand marshals, honoured dykes and award recipients gather at Toronto's 519 Church Street Community Centre to renounce their honours as well. 

Read Careaga and Sabbadini's letter to Pride Toronto here.  

And the text of their press release below:

Brussels, 7 June 2010


Toronto Pride: International Grand Marshals 2010 resign following ban on the expression “Israeli Apartheid”
Freedom of speech must be at the core of every pride parade

The co-secretaries general of the world largest LGBTI umbrella organisation ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) wrote a letter to the Board of Directors of the Toronto Pride to announce their decision not to take part to the Toronto Pride events as International Grand Marshals 2010.

Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini had been appointed International Grand Marshals 2010 at the end of January this year by the Board of Directors of the pride organising committee.

The decision to resign was motivated by the ban on the expression “Israeli Apartheid” by the Board of Directors of the Toronto pride. One of the consequences of the ban is the exclusion of the group “Queer Against Israeli Apartheid” from the pride march.

“We believe the ban to be a terrible mistake, in complete contradiction with the spirit of freedom and inclusiveness a pride should embody.” – wrote Careaga and Sabbadini in the letter – “Differences of opinion, particularly on non-LGBTI related matters, are to be expected and even welcomed among the participants to a pride march, if we want such march to be the genuine gathering of people from diverse walks of life and different sectors of society united in expressing demand for equality for LGBTI people all over the world.”

“As LGBTI activists” – continued the co-secretaries general of ILGA – “we should be the first to know how unfair it is to be excluded from a public venue because the message we carry could be seen as “inappropriate” or “offensive” to someone. As a matter of fact pride parades have been considered “offensive” from their very inception from a – fortunately decreasing – portion of society. Which is why freedom of expression should be one of the most sacred values at the core of our action.” 


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Has the israeli lobby invaded
Has the israeli lobby invaded the canadian LGBT community too ? Where is the freedom of speech ? How come I'm not allowed to express my opinions publically in the pride I've always been to ?!!!!
La madurez no es una cuestión
La madurez no es una cuestión mercantilista; crecer no significa someterse a los señores del dinero. La comunidad gay vive en el mundo. Imposible desatender la piratería isrealí en aguas internacionales, ni el castigo que Israel impone a los habitantes de Gaza. En Israel hay dos tipos de ciudadanía: los árabes y los judíos: se trata de un verdadero Apartheid. ¿Por qué no denunciarlo? porque somos gay getoizados y debemos continuar de esa forma en nuestra torre de marfil de la disco?
Hablar de apartheid en Israel no es ser antisemita: palestinos y árabes también son Semitas y vivían en Israel antes de la invasión Israelí, único Estado en el mundo que no tiene fronteras fijas.
This was a very foolish thing
This was a very foolish thing for ILGA to do and reflects more badly on them than on Pride Toronto. It was obviously based on misinformation about the situation here in Toronto. Pride Toronto has not really engaged in any so-called "censorship" in this situation. Xtra itself has never devoted a single iota of space to discussing the issue of Israeli-Palestinian relations nor ever given any space to QuAIA to air its views. These are not gay issues and doing so would obviously weaken the gay focus of Xtra. Likewise ILGA has never taken a position on these matters since they are not specifically gay issues and would certainly weaken their gay focus as well. It is very hypocritical of Xtra editors to criticize Pride Toronto for applying exactly the same "editorial" policy to the Pride parade as do Xtra editors to this publication. The Pride parade happens because of its volunteers, participants, donors, and audience with or without the participation of the stodgy old greybeards at Xtra and Pink Triangle Press. Most of the people who count agree with excluding this particular group from the parade because of its propensity for engaging in anti-Semitic hate speech and for being generally irresponsible. If QuAIA was included they would vote with their feet and withdraw, starting with Toronto City Council. The assorted rabble of QuAIA supporters and miscellaneous anarchists are quite good at parasitizing someone else's parade but very unlikely to provide any worthwhile alternative of their own. As Ms Sandilands has said, if QuAIA is allowed to participate then quite literally there will not be a parade nor any Pride events at all because most of the people who make the parade happen simply would not participate. Welcome to the real world of money and adult responsibility. Throwing tantrums will not change things one bit so please grow up and get with it.
Congratulations and thank you
Congratulations and thank you! This rejection from members of the ILGA means a lot especially when we have Sandilands saying that InterPride, a partner group of ILGA, will take away our world Pride designation is they didn't censor the term Israeli apartheid. http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/pride-coalition-for-free-speech/email-conversation-with-pride-toronto-ed-tracey-sandilands-by-shawn-syms/127745190588087 Granted ILGA and InterPirde are two separate groups but they are partners and if we have one partner on side as being against censorship there's reason to believe that the other will come around to. Personally I doubt that InterPirde ever threatened to relocate World Pride in 2014 if Toronto Pride didn't censor but who knows who is in charge of InterPride anyways.
Congratulations to those with
Congratulations to those with the courage to stand up for what they believe in and not allowing themselves to be intimidated or blackmailed by bullies. Pride, by definition, is a measurement of one's own dignity, worth, and self-respect. It is, by nature, self-reflective, and is NOT usually associated with letting people tell you what to do or remaining silent. You don't allow yourself or your friends to be pushed around and then go and celebrate "pride". Just doesn't feel right. Again, congratulations and thanks for making the word meaningful again.
I want to know who is getting
I want to know who is getting funding from Pride Toronto? I want names and organizations. Whoever supports censorship is always good to know.
"All mention of them is

"All mention of them is already gone from Pride Toronto's website."
My God Pride works faster than the pigs in Animal Farm.
Awesome news - a great
Awesome news - a great endorsement of pride and condemnation of Pride Toronto's blunder!
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