Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
Wonkman blogs about why it matters that Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford has refused, for a third year, to attend Toronto Pride. A decade ago, when GLBT rights were that much less mainstream, suburban conservative Mel Lastman went.
Mel went because he was a tremendous baby-kisser. Mel was never happier than when he was shaking hands and meeting new people and mixing with his constituents. Parades and street festivals were incredible fun.
But more importantly, Mel went because Mel recognized that he was mayor of the entire city.
Not just the parts which voted for him, and not just the parts which he found appealing.
One of Mel’s main goals as mayor was to bring the city together: to promote inclusiveness and mutual understanding, to promote and protect minority cultures, to foster an environment where people from all over the world can feel at home.
And if occasionally he had to something he found distasteful or uncomfortable to reach that goal? Mel would pull on his big-boy pants and get it over with.
[. . .]
This was one of the pivotal moments in Mel’s career as mayor. It set the tone for the rest of his term in office. It was a moment when he proved something important to his constituents: all that talk about “inclusiveness” and “mayor of the whole city” was more than just idle political chatter. He was going to put himself out there, he was going to make a good-faith effort to engage with minority cultures on their own terms, and he was going to use his power as mayor to encourage the values he espoused, rather than cynically ditching them after election night.
Mel was not a perfect mayor—but he got this part right. No matter what you thought about his politics and his policies, we all knew that he genuinely loved this city and its people. It’s part of why he absolutely roared to victory in the 2000 mayoral election.
Mel started with a city split nearly in two along ideological and geographic lines, and he turned it into a unified, cohesive and coherent metropolis. He healed the rifts which he himself had inadvertently created. And he left the city more united, more even and more inclusive than he’d found it.
Would that Ford was a tenth of Lastman.
Over at Torontoist, the presence of mayor Rob Ford at a PFLAG ceremony today–documented by Torontoist’s Desmond Cole that might have once been welcomed as a sign of progress became problematic on account of the ongoing scandal.
(Compare Jonathan Goldsbie’s arguably more sympathetic piece “Standing proud” in NOW Toronto. Not to say that Wong-Tam isn’t entirely right to point out that Ford’s progress is positively glacial, of course.)
Today, as they do every May 17, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) held ceremonies internationally to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Toronto ceremony takes place at the flagpole on the rooftop podium at City Hall—today a more frantic place than usual. As the event unfolded PFLAG president Irene Miller spoke about love and acceptance; as she ended a moving address on acceptance of sexual and gender diversity, Miller urged those in attendance, “hug one another, do not leave without a hug today!”
Then she went directly over to Mayor Rob Ford and embraced him.
[. . .]
After reading a proclamation to open the event, an extremely red-faced Ford stood off to the side, literally cornered near the flagpole on the east side of City Hall. Following his brief embrace with Miller, Ford marched back to a second floor entrance to the building, ignoring questions from the phalanx of reporters asking questions about his alleged drug use and discriminatory comments.
[. . .]
In a conversation with us after the event, Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) applauded the inclusion of two trans speakers, TK and well-known trans activist Enza Anderson. “It’s not often that trans people are able to share the stage publicly and express their pride,” Wong-Tam said. “They are really brave.”
Wong-Tam also expressed strong feelings about the mayor’s attendance at the ceremony. “I was fairly conflicted when I saw him,” said Wong-Tam. She said that while the queer community is constantly trying to reach out to Ford, he rarely responds. “It’s not good enough for someone to show up once a year and then just expect us to applaud him,” she said. “There’s more to being an ally than reading a proclamation prepared for you by staff.”
After I posted this morning’s photos of a vintage Toronto streetcar, I shared one fo the images the image with a few different Toronto-related groups on Flickr. User zirocket commented that the cars were the TTC’s contribution to the Lion’s Club Beaches Easter Parade, and gave me permission to share the images he took of the streetcars on the parade route on Queen Street East. (The descriptions are zirocket‘s.)
TTC PCC #4549 in front of TTC Peter Witt #2766, seen on Easter Sunday on Queen Street East just west of Woodbine, from the Easter Parade.
TTC Peter Witt #2766, seen on March 31, 2013 on Queen Street East, just a few metres west of the Lion’s Club Beaches Easter Parade.