2 min

Pride Toronto looking for more women

Board will keep positions open until candidates come forward

Credit: Xtra file photo

Worried its board is too “male-dominated,” Pride Toronto (PT) has decided to postpone electing three new board members because not enough women were interested, the board chair says.

The vacant seats were left open following the board election at the AGM in October 2011 in hopes they could be used to bring more diversity to the board, especially women or trans candidates, says Francisco Alvarez.

Unfortunately, there was very little interest from women, he says. “We didn’t get enough candidates to proceed with the election. So we are just going to have the election at the next AGM in October.”

“We were ideally looking for women this time around,” he says. “We have had no women candidates. So we have decided to wait.”

There are currently two women on the PT board, Susan Gapka and Paola Solorzano.

“They are three-year positions, and rather than lock the board into a male-dominated majority, we will spend the next few months talking to people in person to generate more interest with women,” Alvarez says.

He notes that the board has the power to appoint members to vacant seats. “But we didn’t figure people would want us to do that.”

The general meeting is Thursday, March 1 at 6:30pm at the Metro Central YMCA at 20 Grosvenor St.

The board will also present its audited financial statements. “That’s a chance for people to ask us questions,” Alvarez says. The statements, representing July 31, 2010, to July 31, 2011, were released to Xtra Jan 28.

PT entered the 2010 fiscal year with a deficit of $431,000, which left the organization $109,000 in debt. The financial statements for 2011 show that PT ended the year with a $110,000 surplus — completely eliminating all debt remaining from the 2010 shortfall. Pride had originally planned to pay down the debt over three years.

The meeting will also include an update on WorldPride 2014 and PT’s plans to send a delegation to London, England, this summer for WorldPride.

Members will also help decide on the PT theme for 2012. Four themes have been shortlisted: Celebrate and Demonstrate; Together, Strong and Proud; Here to Stay; and It Takes a Community.

Past Pride themes include Dream Big, in 2011; Pride 30th Anniversary, in 2010; Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, in 2009; Unified! in 2008; Unstoppable! in 2007; and Fearless in 2006.

Alvarez says that although the deadline has passed, the search continues for artists and performers for 2012. “We generally don’t have the list of performers finalized until [publishing] the Pride Guide,” he says.