Homophobia is not a “personal value”.
As those of you in the GTA are no doubt aware, Toronto mayor Rob Ford announced last week that he had no plans to attend the city’s Pride celebrations. And the shit hit the fan.
Now, I have my own issues with Pride celebrations (see last year’s post on the subject for more details). I didn’t bother to take the day off work, and won’t be attending the parade, although I might meander my way down towards some of the partying later on in the day. There are legitimate reasons for deciding that the Pride parade is not for you.
Trouble is, I’m pretty damn certain that those legitimate reasons have nothing whatsoever to do with Ford’s decision.
He keeps hiding behind his PR line, that he doesn’t want to give up a “family tradition” of going to the cottage for Canada Day weekend. Funny, really, how so many of the arguments against gay rights come down to “tradition”, isn’t it? Ford’s brother, a city councilman, has announced that he’ll be attending the parade. So obviously it’s not the entire family who are so married to this “tradition” that they can’t cut the weekend a teensy bit short and come back on Sunday instead of Monday.
The media is trying desperately to show this as an issue that has two sides to it, but there’s just not much of anything for Rob Ford to stand upon. The “opposing viewpoint” that keeps being repeated seems to be that “the man has the right to his traditions”, or “he shouldn’t feel pressured to attend if the parade conflicts with his personal values”.
Well, call me intolerant if you will, but I think that homophobia — especially in a duly elected public servant meant to represent and serve the community — is decidedly NOT a “personal value”, or a right. It’s ignorance. It’s hateful. It’s intolerable. Ford needs to accept that he is in charge of a city with a large and extremely vocal gay community, and he needs to see attending this parade as a duty. If he were invited to attend an event for black history month, or in celebration of women’s rights, and declined the invitation in this manner? He’d be drummed out of office. Never mind that he’s a white, heterosexual male — as mayor, he represents ALL of his city’s people, including the ones who he may not personally like.
One of my friends has suggested that it would be fitting to bring Pride to Rob Ford, if possible. Anyone who has a cottage near his should definitely consider holding their own pride weekend party — my friend’s suggestion was to actually have a parade down the street that the Ford family cottage sits on.
Of course, I’m 90% certain that Ford’s PR people will drag him, kicking and screaming if necessary, to make at least ONE public appearance during the weekend. This has turned into too much of a fiasco for him to really be able to justify staying away. But the damage is already done. He’s proven once and for all that he’s a selfish, homophobic bastard, who can’t even summon up the cojones to do the politically correct thing (and damn it, if politicians can’t manage to be politically correct, what the hell is the point of having a polite society in the first place?)
I sincerely hope that this haunts the man for the rest of his (please let it be short) political career.