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QuAIA withdraws from Pride Toronto parade

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QuAIA withdraws from Pride Toronto parade

Councillor Georgio Mammoliti says he will not move to defund Pride Toronto next week, as he had previously announced.

The news comes after Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) withdrew from Toronto's annual Pride parade, according to a press release issued April 15. Instead, QuAIA will hold its own event, without Pride Toronto (PT), sometime during Pride Week.

"Last year’s struggle was around censorship and our right to march in our community’s Pride parade,” says QuAIA spokesperson Tim McCaskell in the press release. “With the City report settling that debate, now is the time for us to move beyond the parade to build our community’s response to Israeli apartheid.”

On April 13, PT and QuAIA were exonerated in a city manager's report, which concluded that PT had not broken the city's anti-discrimination policy.

Earlier this week, Giorgio Mammoliti promised to strip the festival of funds. But on April 15, he said that QuAIA had "done the right thing."

"Because of what they've done, you won't see me move a motion to take the funds away," Mammoliti tells Xtra.

With this news, it appears that the festival's city funding is secure for 2011. Last year, PT received $123,807 from the city, plus roughly $300,000 in-kind services like policing and cleanup.

But Mammoliti stopped well short of endorsing PT funding in future years, saying that all programs would be reviewed this year in an effort to find $700 million in savings. Mammoliti's comments play into the tone of QuAIA's press release, which chides Mayor Rob Ford's administration for using QuAIA as an excuse to defund the festival.

“Rob Ford wants to use us as an excuse to cut Pride funding, even though he has always opposed funding the parade, long before we showed up,” the release quotes QuAIA member Elle Flanders as saying. “By holding our Pride events outside of the parade, we are forcing him to make a choice: fund Pride or have your real homophobic, rightwing agenda exposed.”

In an interview with Xtra, Flanders says that Mammoliti will still be looking for ways to defund PT, even though with QuAIA's announcement, he's lost "the pretext" he was using this week.

"As usual, he's talking out of both sides of his mouth," says Flanders.

After the announcement, the Twitterverse lit up with comments, most of them thanking QuAIA for withdrawing. University of Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman called the move "brilliant strategy," while former fab editor (and Xtra contributor) Scott Dagostino characterized it as "a smart move, noble even."

"There's give and take in communities," says Flanders. "We think that the community has been generous to us, and it's time for us to be generous in return. When you're facing rightwing, homophobic governments, you've got to band together."

But for queer activist Ashleigh Ingle, who was active on the Pride file, the move is something of an ominous sign.

"It's a really sad day when the political climate of the city is in such a place that it will force a political organization out of the Pride parade," she says.

Gaybourhood Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam emphasizes that the 2012 budget will still be a tough slog. She's worried about cash for PT and Caribana, HIV/AIDS prevention and community groups.

QuAIA "might have been a convenient excuse, but now that that's been taken off the table, there's no reason not to carry on funding Pride," says Wong-Tam.

Another outspoken oppponent of PT funding during QuAIA's time as a participant, Councillor James Pasternak, says he now supports funding for the festival.

“I don’t have a problem with helping out cultural, civic festivals, whether they’re cultural festivals or parades,” Pasternak told the Toronto Star April 15.

In an interview with the National Post, Mammoliti remains bullish, saying that he "doesn't trust" QuAIA and wants to see a letter from Pride Toronto verifying that QuAIA is out. In his interview with Xtra earlier in the day, he indicated he wanted a letter from QuAIA saying they will not march.

 

 

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Comments

No matter what Ford's
No matter what Ford's intentions are, he has done us a great favour for helping us get that hate group out of our parade.
Mark - thanks for pointing
Mark - thanks for pointing out precisely why the gay rights movement has absolutely nothing to gain from associating itself with a foreign ethnic conflict.
How the defense vehicles are
How the defense vehicles are numbered? The numbering or identification system is quite different from civilian?
Quintin..and others...the
Quintin..and others...the true source of the hate speech was revealed on Friday when The Jewish Defence League protested outside of the Pride Offices. In simple terms this is hate based homophobia. A few of us attending with the sole purpose of observing. We were greeted with "look at the Petty homosexuals" and the last words spoken to us were "See you next week faggots" that witha few sprinklings of y\"you are lucky the police are here" I would say that the source of this hate speech is directly linked to the JAL and their messengers, Sue Ann Elvy and Martin Gladstone, who because they are gay have now given the Fords Mamolitis permission to continue the thinly disguised attacks on the LGBT.
The fuglies from QuAIA have
The fuglies from QuAIA have had their 15 minutes. Time for them to crawl back under their rocks. Someone in that group of idiots must have finally got the message that they weren't making any new friends by destroying Pride, getting it defunded by the city, and making it next to impossible to get corporate sponsors. They piggybacked their message of hate onto Pride for too long, and it it weren't for Pride, no one would notice or care about any of those losers. Good riddance!
I never understood the
I never understood the objection to Israel Apartheid movements. It's a movement decrying the actions of a governments, actions which result in large civilian losses and hardship. It's not anti-Semitic, because it's not against an religion, or those who practise a particular religion. It's not against Israel's right to be a state. It's against policies of a government. If it were any other government at hand, it seems, this issue wouldn't exist. No one would get pissed off if there was a "Movement against Sudanese Apartheid", to object to the actions of the Sudanese government vis-a-vis it's oppressive treatment of some ethnic groups.
So they wanted to show that
So they wanted to show that there are people in the LGBT community who are politically active and care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So they wanted to march as a part of the parade. So what's the big deal? Pride parade, as far as I see it, is supposed to represent the diversity of our community. If someone's opinions about Israel are different from the mainstream, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't participate in the Pride.

And this story is pretty alarming, because
the Toronto city administration is still looking for a way to stop the parade from happening, and it is ready to cancel the entire parade only because the Jewish/pro-Israeli community doesn't like one tiny group participating in it.
QuAIA are nothing more than
QuAIA are nothing more than dabblers in grievance politics when they aren't tourists in another country's conflict of which they - and so many in the LGBT community - have no understanding whatsoever. I dare you to convince me that QuAIA and their cheerleaders are not ideologues who for reasons a Neo-Nazi could best explain, have a hate-on for Israeli Jews. How blind, stupid, and brainwashed do you have to be to bray on about Israel while Iran hangs gays from cranes? I've seen Pride Parades in Israel and when I see them in Damascus, Riyadh, Tehran, Jakarta, Aden, Amman, Gaza, Khartoum and a hundred other places where *real* oppression exists and gay rights are suspended if not a visit to an execution chamber, I'd urge you to tell QuAIA to go shove their agenda where the sun doesn't shine.
My Pride doesn't include
My Pride doesn't include attempts to reproduce foreign ethnic conflicts in Canada under the guise of "inclusiveness."
There IS a queer and trans
There IS a queer and trans rights movement in Palestine and what it demands FIRST AND FOREMOST is the end of the Israeli occupation and an end to the Apartheid policies and practices. Demanding an end to Israeli Apartheid in Palestine IS the first and foremost step in fighting for queer and trans rights.

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