Saturday, July 2, 2011

More Toronto Pride Controversy

      Tomorrow is the Toronto Pride Parade and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid - the group which Toronto Mayor Rob Ford banned from participating in the parade - is making another round at it. This time though, they have morphed themselves into the group "Dykes and Trans People For Palestine". This is what their facebook group invitation states about their event.
Dykes & Trans People for Palestine is a group that has come together this year to organize a Palestine Solidarity contingent for this year’s Trans March and Dyke March. We recognize and speak out against Israeli Apartheid and the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. As queers, we recognize that transphobia and homophobia exists in Israel, Palestine, and across all borders. But queer Palestinians face the additional challenge of living under occupation, subject to Israeli state violence and control. There is no pride in apartheid.

This year we will send a clear message to Pride Toronto, the City of Toronto and Pride’s corporate sponsors that we will not be silent or censored! We will speak loud and proud as we always have in support of the struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine while standing with the Trans community and the demand for Trans rights and visibility here at home.

Our Plans!
We plan to march as a Palestine solidarity contingent at this year's 2nd annual Trans March. Our approach is one of peaceful non-violence and we ask anyone who wishes to march with us to respect this – we do not want confrontations with the police or any others present and we do not anticipate being arrested.

Our aim is to have a contingent that is representative of the Trans community. In order to reach this goal and in recognition that the Trans march is an emerging event that is still young in its inception, we may be asking some who join our contingent to express their support by standing on the sidelines as opposed to marching alongside us in the actual march. The specifics will be decided on the day of the event, which is why we are asking people to meet us at the Centre for Women and Trans People in the early evening, prior to the march. Here we will make banners, have a light snack and listen to music while making final plans for the march.
       First off, if this group was truly concerned about Palestinian queers - as they claim  to be above - why are we not hearing any cries for the Palestinian Authority to decriminalize homosexuality and/or treat LGBT people with decency and respect - rather than death and revulsion. Instead, they are targeting Israel, the lone and singular voice for equal treatment of LGBT people in the Middle East. This really doesn't seem to be about "queer Palestinians" as they claim. But, since I don't know any of these activists, I cannot legitimately go any further in my analysis. 

      As I have already stated on this blog, Pride exists in order to facilitate cooperation among our communities - whether they be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. There is no room in Pride for a political group whose position actually has the direct possibility of alienating a large percentage of LGBT people (LGBT Jews). QAIA and now DTFP's insistence upon being in the parade defeats and IS defeating the very essence of why we have Pride. This years Toronto Pride has been marked by controversy because of this singular group; and now - with this offshoot - will be mired in even more controversy and negativity. Does this bring our community together? I think not. 

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