The blow fell too late for a counter-punch. But that seems to have been the idea behind Pride Toronto’s arbitrary ejection of the Canadian Association of Equality (CAFÉ) from Sunday’s parade just days beforehand, leaving no time for appeal of the decision.
The annual Pride event in Canada’s biggest city is supposed to be a celebration of all things and causes relating to gay culture and, more broadly, to formerly marginalized sexual identities. It’s supposed to be a big tent. But as the treatment of CAFÉ shows us, only those groups with a politically correct agenda are seen as acceptable.
According to its own policy, Pride Toronto doesn’t permit cancellations after June 21 — thereby ensuring that groups have an opportunity to respond to complaints lodged against them. CAFÉ, which has charity status (giving them more legal standing than most of the other participating groups), took part last year without incident and had two months ago successfully registered to walk this year, their name appearing in official Pride literature.
CAFÉ was given no substantive reason for the rejection, just a note from the Pride organizers: “It has come to our attention that the work of your organization may contravene the spirit of the mission, vision, and values of Pride Toronto and WorldPride.” And that was it. Their right to march was withdrawn. At a stroke, CAFÉ was lumped in with pedophilia-promoting groups such as Men Loving Boys Loving Men, the only other type of group I could find to have been spurned by Pride as inconsistent with its mission.
Although CAFÉ’s broad mandate is freedom of speech, much of its activity has focused on raising awareness of men’s issues — including those that affect, say, the right of gay men (and all men) to have equal parenting rights under Canadian law. But feminists regard any such advocacy as a threat to their dogma. And so feminist activism, occasionally aggressive, has attended almost every men’s rights speaker sponsored by CAFÉ on Canadian university campuses. (I was one such speaker two years ago.) It therefore isn’t much of a stretch to infer that CAFÉ was booted from Pride because of the complaints of militant feminists.
For those who follow Pride politics, a certain irony leaps out here. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association marches (Will S: my hyperlink), even though affiliated with some gay-alliance-unfriendly Catholic schools. More controversially, Pride defends the presence of the anti-Zionist group Queers Against Israel Apartheid, perceived as an outright hate group by many Jews, not to mention by many non-Jews, who can see that QuAIA’s mandate has nothing to do with Pride’s objectives (and in fact makes a mockery of them in focusing negative attention on the only gay-friendly nation in the Middle East).
(Not that I care about Zionism – I myself am more or less neutral about Israel / Palestine, but it is interesting that that group gets to march, despite how ‘controversial’ they are, but a group that stands up for issues affecting all men isn’t allowed to…)
*Update: W.F. Price has some observations on the matter.
I especially like his noting the hypocrisy:
Kay mentions the irony inherent in Pride’s rejection of CAFÉ, but perhaps as a Canadian she isn’t aware of the height of hypocrisy it represents. Gay organizations have been fighting for years to butt into American parades and organizations, such as Boston and New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parades, which are Catholic, family-oriented events. They weren’t fighting merely for the right to participate as marchers, which has never been an issue, but rather as out-and-proud homosexuals. In recent years they’ve enlisted mayors’ support, and a number of mayors have indeed condemned the Irish Americans for choosing not to celebrate homosexuality alongside their ethnic heritage and Catholic faith.
So one would expect the Pride parades themselves to be bastions of tolerance and fairness, right? Wrong! Step out of line just a tiny bit from the official dogma, which includes gender feminism, and you’re not welcome. Remember that “LGBT” starts with L, and most lesbians don’t take kindly to straight men who ask for equal treatment under the law.
LGBT indeed starts with an L; we see that clearly, here.
Well put. 🙂