It was a huge day yesterday for Toronto’s gay and lesbian communities. Just after sunrise, this year’s international grand marshals withdrew from this year's pride celebration. Then more than 20 past- and present-honoured dykes, grand marshals and Pride-award recipients renounced their accolades, leaving statuettes on Pride Toronto’s (PT) doorstep.
Elle Flanders assures police that Pride Toronto's building is perfectly safe.
No one was at Pride’s offices to receive the accolades, the doors were locked tight, but by then all mention of the international grand marshals had been wiped from pridetoronto.com and PT had issued a press release to rebut the refusnik movement. Check it out here.
A Toronto police officer told me that PT contacted them the night before. “They are concerned about the building,” he told me.
PT marketing and communications manager Michael Ain was the only Pride staffer I spotted at The 519. It was good to see him there at least. But Pride Toronto management and other staff were clearly both well aware of and avoiding the goings-on.
PT executive director Tracey Sandilands was seen later in the morning gathering up the award statuettes and accompanying certificate of shame from PT’s front porch. (The word is there's a picture out there somewhere – lay it on me! email@example.com)
"If we had not made this decision [to censor ‘Israeli Apartheid’], Pride would not have been able to take place,” she told the CBC. “We would have had to cancel the 2010 festival, close our doors and file for bankruptcy.”
Then it was standing-room only last night as hundreds packed the auditorium at The 519 for a community meeting. It seemed a fitting inauguration for The 519’s freshly minted renovation project.
The auditorium was packed at The 519.
Xtra streamed the meeting live on its website and will add a written account later today. Watch a chunk of the meeting below (we had some trouble with our internet connection, so the first chunk is missing – our apologies):
It was a marathon session, but the energy in the room didn’t waver.
At the same time, Ward 27 city councillor Kyle Rae’s retirement party was held a few blocks south.
Rae has been pretty silent on this, except to rattle sabres against anyone attempting to defy the "Israeli apartheid" ban.
Sandilands tweeted that she was, "At a reception celebrating the career of Councillor Kyle Rae. So many well-known ppl from far & wide here to (cont) http://tl.gd/1o2kgc" And she posted on her facebook profile:
At the end of the night those left behind at The 519, 50 to 75 people, marched to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for an afterparty. It was the second rousing march of the day.
After the meeting at The 519, a crowd marched to Buddies.
More to follow soon.