Toronto's annual Pride Parade takes place this Sunday July 4, capping off a week of festivities organized by the city's gay communities.
Unfortunately, the parade is not without its share of controversy this year as well. Those following the local Toronto news know about last week's flip-flop decision by Pride Toronto to allow the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) to march again this year. You can read all the info in The CJN here.
Above: Members of Kulanu Toronto and other pro-Israel LGBT supporters gather at the opening ceremony of Toronto Pride week to raise the rainbow flag at City Hall.
The political stir caused by Pride's policy decision reversal – it had previously said it would ban the term "Israeli Apartheid" from all its events after being warned by the city it could be in contravention of Toronto's non-discrimination policy – has even reached Israel. The city of Tel Aviv has sent a letter of support to Kulanu Toronto, the city's main Jewish LGBT group.
In response to QuAIA's continued agitating and hateful political messaging at the parade, Kulanu has decided to take a stand for "inclusiveness and peace" at this year's event and is encouraging all pro-Israel supporters, whether gay or straight, to come march with it at the parade. Here's the press release as sent to Heebonics from Kulanu Executive Director Justine Apple:
Above: Justine Apple speaking at the Toronto vigil in commemoration of victim's of terrorism who were killed at the Tel Aviv gay community center last year.
Tel-Aviv officially sends Happy Gay Pride message to Toronto
Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city, has officially sent a greeting to celebrate Toronto's gay pride. A banner with Tel Aviv's logo will be carried by Kulanu Toronto (Toronto's only LGBT social and educational organization) in the gay pride Parade on Sunday, July 4, 2010.
As far as we know, Tel Aviv is the only city worldwide to send such a message. It is noteworthy that other cities with large gay populations such as London, New York, and San Francisco have not sent similar messages. It is especially interesting in light of attempts of certain groups to use gay pride to attack Israel – the only gay-positive country in the Middle East.
Local Jewish community organizations have pledged to rally around Kulanu and march with the organization this year. Expect to see members of the Canadian Jewish Congress, UJA Federation, the Canada-Israel Committee, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Canada and numerous congregations and grassroots supporters all proudly displaying the Israeli and rainbow flags with Kulanu this weekend.Kulanu Toronto's hope is that this will further encourage people to march with us in celebration of gay acceptance in the Jewish world. We urge people to put their supportive feet on the street and join Kulanu Toronto on Sunday, July 4. Please RSVP to march with us at firstname.lastname@example.org