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Pride Toronto to Torontoist: We’re not that bad



It may be a “villain” in 2010, but Pride Toronto (PT) hopes
to be a hero in 2011.

A Torontoist story this week names PT as one of the year’s
villains because of the brouhaha that erupted around Queers Against Israeli
Apartheid (QuAIA), just in time to put a serious damper on this year’s party. 

“The divisions ran deep,” the Torontoist states. “Side with
QuAIA’s right to march and you were labelled anti-Israel, or worse. Side with
those demanding QuAIA’s expulsion and you were viewed as caving to censorship
and betraying Pride’s founding principle of inclusion. All of a sudden, Pride
wasn’t fun anymore.” 

But Francisco Alvarez, co-chair of the board, says
Torontoist tells only half the story. 

“We’re a little disappointed,” Alvarez tells Xtra, but he
adds, the organization is “not overly concerned about it.” 

“The article does not take into account anything that’s
happened since the parade,” he says, such as setting up the Community Advisory
Panels (CAP). 

The Torontoist story focuses on the board’s actions
during the QuAIA controversy, Alvarez says. 

“It’s speaking to the idea that the Pride board attempted to
be censors,” he says. “Then [the Torontoist] blames us a second time for
reversing our decision to censor and include them in the parade. It’s not very
clear what position they’re taking.” 

The CAP panels have been meeting with the community
throughout this month and will present recommendations to PT by late January or
early February. The findings may also be used by the city of Toronto to table
budget decisions on funding. 

So far there have been five CAP sessions. The last session was
Dec 14 at the 519 Church Street Community Centre at 6:30pm, aimed at the
racialized community. 

“There’s lots of good news to report, but they’re maybe not
as public as the dispute that happened leading up to the parade, regarding the
inclusion of QuAIA in the parade,” Alvarez says. 

“At the end of all this, we’re hopeful the board will come
to a resolution that will make us heroes in 2011.” 

Alvarez notes that the other villains Torontoist names “are
not that serious, in my opinion — things like bedbugs. I think the story is

“We get it. We get the sense of humour.” 

Torontoist says it’s ending the year by naming the city’s
“Heroes and Villains — Toronto’s very best and very worst people, places and
things over the past 12 months.” 

POLL: Do you think PT’s inclusion on the list of Torontoist villains was warranted? Let us know here (right column).

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