On Tuesday, the Ontario Legislature gave unanimous consent to fly the Pride flag at Queen’s Park for the duration of the Sochi Olympics. Public buildings across Canada have been raising the rainbow flag as a sign of solidarity against a recent Russian law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” Despite LGBT rights often being seen as a divisive right-left issue in Canada, even Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak said: “I think it’s the right cause in light of what’s happening in Sochi.”
With the Province so obviously agreeing on the importance of taking a stand in support of LGBT rights in light of Sochi, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s opposition to raising the Pride flag at City Hall, just days after saying he will never attend Pride, was seemingly a direct attack on Toronto’s LGBT community — the largest and strongest in the country. Ford, who hung a Canadian flag in his office window in protest, because “(The Olympics are) about being patriotic to your country, this is not about someone’s sexual preference,” was criticized for using the national flag as an anti-LGBT symbol. Ford’s motion to have the rainbow flag taken down was overruled.
Councillor Doug Ford, whose opposition to Pride stems from not wanting to see “buck naked men,” came to his brother’s defence on Tuesday, claiming that the gay community is “bullying” the Mayor (and of course pulling the classic “I’m not homophobic” tactic of referring to his many “gay friends” — of course without offering any further details). I’m of the belief that people who defend themselves or offer differing views aren’t being bullies — they’re being democratic.
I posted this Tweet in response to Rob Ford’s protest against the Pride flag at City Hall:
416-397-3673. If Rob Ford says he returns every phone call he gets, call and ask him about wanting to take the rainbow flag down. #TOpoli
— Robb Johannes (@robbnotford) February 7, 2014
Thanks to so many of you for sharing, re-tweeting, and calling the Mayor’s office. I understand he generally has a two-week turnaround, so if Rob Ford has not called you back by Friday, February 21, please contact us and let us know what your experiences in dealing with the Mayor have been like.