My neighbourhood, family, friends, former football team and churches all have members of the homosexual community. They are proud of their identity and want respect for their rights! I think that is the idea motivating the parade – not tourism. Am I right? I think I understand the Pride Parade. If so, then I am sympathetic and tolerant of that idea – as a Heterosexual White Christian Man in Toronto 2011. That said, I did not walk or watch the parade in person but I followed it on twitter for a few minutes. Who stuck out to me, from among the million people marching, was Rob Ford (by absence), Brian Burke (General Manager of the Maple Leafs pictured above) and the NDP MP and MPP from my riding (also pictured above). Below is my evaluation of their participation with reflections for what good motives could be. I conclude with my vision for a new “pride parade”.
Brian Burke & Rob Ford: Personal integrity and maybe political savvy.
Brian Burke marched in supportive tribute to his late son Brendan. He is pictured above wearing a #88 white Maple Leaf’s jersey with Brendan’s name on it. I respect that behaviour because it is undoubtedly motivated by loving relationship and is part of Brian’s grief process! He has no political or professional gain in that act. I mean nobody will say, “OK, now that Brian Burke was in the Pride Parade, I am going to buy a jersey and season ticket to Maple Leaf Sports.” In fact, there is a chance that he could be criticized among his cold, closed minded and critical colleagues, but I hope nobody does that. I respect him for it!
Another man who earned my respect was Rob Ford. I can hear you booing me, like he was booed during the rainbow flag raising ceremony. I respect him for not “caving in” to political and professional pressure to compromise a personal conviction. He appears to have concerns and conflict about what the Pride Parade represents. That is fair ball! Even though he represents all Torontonians, he doesn’t have to march! He may have political motives for the choice as well. If he thinks that most Torontonians would not approve of his participation in the parade, then it is political savvy to stay out. Whatever his motives were, I respect that he made a decision to act with integrity according to his own conscience that was very unpopular to many in the inner ring of the GTA. Again, it may be smart politics too for the outer ring of the GTA!
Peggy Nash & Cheri DiNovo: Political savvy and probably personal integrity.
Peggy Nash & Cheri DiNovo (pictured together above) have acted in accordance with both their professional and political preferences, as a pair of active and elected NDP politicians representing Parkdale-High Park, where I live and work. The fact that they were proudly involved in this parade did not especially impress or surprise me. I expected that their personal and political position would be full involvement in the parade. It was still a good political move and perhaps/probably reflects the personal integrity, for which I complimented Rob Ford and Brian Burke! You may be interested to note that Cheri DiNovo was the minister at Emmanuel Howard Park United Church, which is south on Roncesvalles Avenue from my apartment and church. She wrote a book that many of my subscribers would not have read or written, but may wish to examine for dramatic diversification. I respect that Cheri DiNovo and Peggy Nash represented their consitiencies interests and used social media (like twitter) to display their participation. That is smart politics in this riding to be in the parade!
My perspective on parade participation: Purely professional obligation may cause some to participate and others not to. Purely political popularity potential is appealing. However, it is my conviction that participation in the Pride Parade should be based primarily on personal convictions of conscience about gay, lesbian and transgendered folks’ rights. The bottom line, is that whatever an individual decides to do should be tolerated, whether they are absent or present, regardless of motives or office. Personal integrity is the most important thing to respect!
My dream for a new Pride Parade: Frankly, I am just plain envious that this Pride Parade is so popular compared to any Toronto Easter parades that may exist. The sheer social movement and organizational power of the homosexual community is an example of social mobilization to the Church! I have a dream that one day, an Easter Parade, celebrating the crucifixtion and resurrection of Jesus Christ would draw the same level of public proud proclaimation of identity from Christians all over the world. A million Christians closing down the city on a major street to celebrate pride in our identity! I have a dream that Toronto would compete with the worlds largest Easter parades and that it would be such a powerful and compelling social movement that political, sports and celebrities would be converted to Jesus Christ through the experience of the church taking pride in its rights and freedoms of our identity!