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QuAIA Brings Politics Back to Pride

by Megan Kinch


Proudly marching in this year's pride parade is Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. QuAIA fought a hard battle against censorship to bring the politics back into Pride, which became a battle of the grassroots against corporate control of the parade. For example, yesterday’s “Take Back the Dyke” march, organized in response to censorship of QuAIA, went ahead even after Pride Toronto reversed their decision, citing “barricades, marching fees, corporate sponsorship and vetting of groups” as harming the “true sense of community spirit and visibility” of official Pride-sponsored events.

Robynski, a member of QuAIA, spoke about why it was important to support the Palestinian people: “Palestinian queers suffer under the occupation, it’s a military occupation and that exacerbates poverty and all kinds of oppression, against women, against gays. Islam may not understand homosexuality and may not understand queers, but it’s not necessary to understand your allies to fight with them.”
He evoked the struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s, where Toronto Queers fought in solidarity with Simon Nkoli, an HIV positive South African man who brought gay rights into the movement of Nelson Mandela and the ANC. Nkoli’s work, and the international solidarity of gay activists against apartheid, was instrumental in making South Africa’s constitution the first to enshrine rights for gays and lesbians.

Speaking personally, Robynski said “Queers have very short memories, it was only a mere 20 or 30 years ago that cops were beating up queers and doing things like washroom entrapment -forcing them to have sex with them and then beating them up- driving them out the cherry beach and beating the shit out of them there. They have been seduced into believing now that the cops are all our friends because there are gay cops and they forget that they can be just as authoritarian as straight cops, cops are always opposed to gay rights, whatever rights they accord us as queers have come kicking and screaming on our part. The current generation hasn’t been told these stories.”

However, the struggle over re-politicizing pride is getting some younger people interested in Palestine solidarity. Michael Bailey said: “Before this ban I wasn’t following Queers Against Israeli Apartheid but now that they tried to ban it I’m really pissed off.”

Morgan Page, also a younger community activist, said:
“Pride’s history is a political history it’s a political movement and depoliticizing it is pretty much the worst thing we could ever do. I also think that depoliticizing pride goes hand in hand with the marginalization of people of colour and transpeople and sex workers which are the ones who started the Pride movement at Stonewall.”


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Megan Kinch (Megan Kinch)
Toronto Ontario
Member since December 2009

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is a writer and editor with the Toronto Media Co-op.

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Comments

Way to go QUAIA!!! Thanks to

Way to go QUAIA!!! Thanks to you racists and fascists, Pride Toronto has been defunded by almost everybody. Soon there will be hate charges filed with both the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commissions. Pride Toronto must be punished for whoring itself to political correctness and hatred.

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