Uganda, a country where homosexuality is illegal and where meeting with homosexuals is also illegal, is taking their hatred one step further and making “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by death. Aggrevated Homosexuality involves same-sex relationships with disabled people, people under the age of 18, or if the accused is HIV+. The proposed bill, which is expected to pass, also makes “promotion of homosexuality” illegal. This includes publishing information or providing funds for activities. TV shows, and other media like books, that promote homosexuality have already been banned from the country. Queer and Heterosexual people could be jailed for 3 years for failure to report the identities of Queer people they know within 24 hours (sound a little like Germany circa 1930’s?).
So why have World Pride or Gay Games? Because of countries like Uganda, Jamaica, and Iran. We live in a world where people are beaten, jailed, or killed because of their sexual orienation (and this occurs with in so called accepting countries too). People need these events to feel accepted, to have a positive space where they can be proud of who they are instead of scared.
2014 is going to be quite the year for Queers in Central Canada and the Northeastern United States as WorldPride will be held in Toronto (T.O. beat out Stockholm for the honour) and the Gay Games will be held in Cleveland.
Toronto sealed the deal with a delegation of people from PrideToronto, Tourism Toronto, and the Toronto Police. Organizers of the bid have credited the support of the Toronto Police for giving them the edge over Stockholm.
I must say Toronto really does deserve the honour. The city is the most Queer positive city I have ever been to with ads for same-sex dating services in numerous Subway stations not just those near Toronto’s “gaybourhood”, or village. It already draws 1 million people out to watch and participate in the Pride Parade and festivities during Pride Week and Toronto is also the most multicultural city in the world making it an excellent place to celebrate WorldPride.
Following WorldPride in Toronto by only a few weeks Cleveland will host the Gay Games making the Great Lakes Region a Queer tourism Mecca for the summer of 2014. I expect interesting Queer themed promotion to pop up in the area for those looking to take advantage of the influx of Queer travelers in the area (you hear that Niagara?).
Here’s to Toronto and Cleveland, congrats.
Currently the 2014 have 3 competitive bids on the table, Boston, Washington DC and (ready for this?) Cleveland.
Maybe I’m out to lunch here but should a city that wants to host the Gay Games be located in a region that supports Queer rights? Ohio is one of the States that has actually amended the constitution not just to ban same-sex marriage but to ban anything even resembling marriage between same-sex couples including civil unions or domestic partnerships. In fact government institutions (including universities) can no longer provide same-sex partner benefits to their employees.
Does it not seem a little odd to have one hand outstretched to the gay community for money while the other is back waiting to slap us in the face? I really hope that the Gay Games are not held in Cleveland because I don’t think that the Queer community should be putting money into an economy that doesn’t support our rights at all, where that money will actually go to fund State level discrimination again us.
Kudos for trying to run Cleveland, I give you that, but if you do get it I will not be going - whereas if Boston or Washington get it I would.