When the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) presents its recommendations to Pride Toronto (PT), it will not suggest the parade be split in two, Metropolitan Community Church pastor Brent Hawkes says.
In a statement released Feb 9, CAP states, “There will be no recommendation to create two separate Pride parades or organizations.”
The announcement comes on the heels of previous reports in which Hawkes told Xtra the panel was considering all opinions.
At the CAP public forums that ran throughout December, some people suggested that the Pride parade should split into two – one for drinking partygoers and another for activists promoting political and human rights messages.
“The response at the CAP forums was very divided,” Hawkes admitted to Xtra. “Most of the discussion, unfortunately, has been two extreme positions.” But Hawkes left the door open for the possibility of a separate parade, “human rights rally or a human rights conference.”
When Xtra’s story appeared Feb 7, the community reaction to the idea was almost instant. Irate comments were posted on xtra.ca, sharp condemnations were made on the CAP Facebook page and snarky criticism lit up Twitter.
Now, the panel says unequivocally that there will not be a recommendation for two parades on Sunday.
“We have tried hard to resist responding to rumours,” Hawkes states in the release. “However it is clear that false reports are being widely circulated and were gaining momentum despite the fact they are untrue. They were causing our community unwarranted anxiety. So let me say it clearly: there will be no ‘two-parade’ proposal in our report.”
Hawkes refused to comment further to Xtra on the decision.
The release also states the CAP report will be released to the community on Feb 17. The PT board will get the recommendations Feb 10. “We’re presenting the recommendations to the board. We still need some work on the back-up report,” Hawkes tells Xtra.
“We’re really working hard to get everything ready for tomorrow night,” he says.