August 14, 2013
My Letter To The IOC And Their Response

Here is the letter I wrote the IOC on their recent decision to punish athletes protesting the homophobic Russian law.

To whom it may concern, 

I write for the LGBT blog Oh My Gay http://ohmygay.tumblr.com/ and was wondering if you could speak to the recent decision of the IOC to punish athletes displaying support for the LGBT community during the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi Russia.
In the IOC’s own Charter under the Fundamental Principles of Olympism page 11, There is this:

6. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race,
religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic
Movement.

Does that mean the IOC will violate their own charter by punishing athletes who wear pride symbols during the games?

I look forward to your reply.

This is the response I received

Dear Jon,

Thank you for your email. To answer your questions, The IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive protests or demonstrations. This rule has been in place for many years and aims to separate sport from politics, honour the context of the Olympic Games, and ensure the peaceful gathering of athletes from over 200 nations, officials and spectators from all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds. By its nature, the Olympic Games cannot become a platform for any kind of demonstration and the IOC will not accept any proactive gesture that could harm their spirit and jeopardize their future.

That said, the IOC would always treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done.

I take this opportunity to share with you our position on this matter: “The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation. The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardise this principle.

As you know, this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi. As a sporting organisation, what we can do is to continue to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media.  To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

We hope this will be helpful,

Many thanks and best regards

Sandrine Tonge

Media Relations Manager

INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

Château de Vidy

1007 Lausanne, Switzerland

Tel  +41 (0)21 621 6000

Fax +41 (0)21 621 6356

Clear enough for everyone? Cause it isn’t for me. 

August 14, 2013
Olympic Committee Confirms It Will Punish Athletes Who Support LGBT Rights In Russia | Instinct

This definitely requires some serious explaining by the IOC. Here’s hoping they provide it.

June 12, 2013
Russian lawmakers pass anti-gay bill in 436-0 vote

What does this law do? Well if I were in Russia it would be illegal for me to have my blog, I wouldn’t have been able to be a part of Queer McGill during university, my soccer or water polo organization wouldn’t be allowed to exist, pride parades are banned, making public statements supporting the rights of LGBTQ people is illegal, even movies, TV shows, music, or art seen as ‘promoting’ homosexuality are effectively banned from Russia. I hope the international community denounces this for the draconian and extremely oppressive act that it is. I also hope that any LGBTQ athletes or allies going to Socchi next year make a stand and proudly sport the rainbow flag during their events or upon receiving medals in protest of this disgusting stance.

Find out more about the bill here.

June 12, 2012

Hillary Clinton delivers a video message for Pride Month. You go girl. 

May 17, 2012
Happy International Day Against Transphobia and Homophobia!

May 3, 2012
Toronto International Pride Cup - Toronto’s LGBTQ Friendly Soccer Tournament

2012 marks the 6th year since it’s inception for the Toronto International Pride Cup, or TIPC. 

While the tournament has been in a couple of different venues over the past few years it seems to have found a home at L’Amoreaux Field in Scarborough where the 2011 tournament was held and where it will be held again during the August 10-12 weekend this year. 

The tournament has received teams from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Montreal, Washington, Boston, and Waterloo.

The tournament has two streams, mixed or open (which are open to people of any gender identity) and womens (open to those who are female identified). 

The matches take place over 2 days, which a registration event on the Friday evening (which will be held at Slacks) in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village (Church-Wellesley Village, or Gaybourhood).

This year the tournament is experimenting with the format: Whereas in the past squads were comprised of the traditional 11 or more players this year each squad will have 7 members (with the option of including and ‘alternate’). For each game 2 squads will be paired to play against 2 other squads for a full 11v11 match. Stats for each game will count toward the round-robin standings of both squads. Squads with an 8th alternate may only play 7 of their players in any one game, but the alternate may switch in throughout the weekend. Additionally a team cannot have more than 6 players from their squad on the field during play. 

For those with spouses, partners, family, friends, or FWBs that may not be soccer fans other highlights in Toronto that weekend include the Toronto Beer Festival and the ever popular Taste of the Danforth.

Other events during TIPC include the banquet held on the Saturday evening, all signs point it being held at the 519 community centre in the heart of the gay village and will be catered by Fabarnak recently named one of the top five restaurants to go in to Toronto for locally sourced food by Now Magazine (http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story.cfm?content=186034). 

Registration can be done through the TIPC website - http://www.tipc.org/

You can also let people know you plan to go through the TIPC 2012 facebook event page and follow them on facebook or twitter (@TIPCtweet).

May 2, 2012

Yumyos For Pride

With many Pride celebrations becoming more family friendly (and with us Queer folk loving all that is vibrant, fun, kitsch, and cute) a friend, Leah Moses, has released a line of collectible stuffed toys with Pride ones coming out for the circuit. 

Yumyos actually embody a number of aspects of the LGBTQ community as well. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colours, furriness, and backgrounds, and each one is unique having been individually crafted. 

You can visit Yumyos facebook page here 

Or to purchase one you can go here

August 4, 2011
BC Liberal Party notably absent at Vancouver Pride

This is actually quite surprising. Considering the battering that the Liberal Party has been taking both on Federal and Provincial levels (down 10 points in Ontario) you would think that the Liberals would be pandering to everyone they can, especially a popular event in the socially left leaning Vancouver.

June 24, 2011
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Still Refusing to Attend Any Pride or Queer Communtiy Event

Mayor Rob Ford has missed every opportunity extended to him to attend any events relating to the Queer community.

To date he missed:

  • October 18, 2010 chance to speak to the community during the election campaign at the 519 but backed out at the last minute.
  • May 12th, 2011 he was absent for the Proud of Toronto invitations handed out by Drag Queens and others at City Hall, Ford’s staff claimed he was in a meeting.
  • May 16th, 2011 he missed the Proud of Toronto event in the rotundra which was attended by several councillors.
  • May 17, 2011 he was absent from the flag raising ceremony at City Hall to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (this took place during council session’s lunch break, though clearly we know how he values meal time).
  • He delayed signing a declaration for Toronto Pride and had to be pressured by councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and the community.
  • He will not be attending the Pride flag raising ceremony at City Hall on June 27th, 2011 - instead sending Frances Nunziata as his representative.
  • When asked if he will be attending any pride events he has stated his family comes first, even though the event runs for 9 days and will only be at the cottage for the long weekend.
  • He will not be attending or marching in the parade on Sunday July 3rd, 2011.

Then when people within the community call him homophobic we’re lambasted by his brother because “He has gay friends”. Well whoopty fucking doo. You know who else has gay friends? Stephen Harper - he’s buddy buddy with John Baird. Hell even Hilter’s right hand man was gay until Hitler saw him as a threat turned on him and every other gay person in Germany in 1936. Now I’m not saying that Rob Ford is like Hitler. But saying you have gay friends doesn’t mean you’re not homophobic it just means you either think these people are your friends but really they’re just nice to you to your face or that they are so self depricating they can allow themselves to be friends with someone who doesn’t think that we should have the same rights as everyone else (Ford was an outspoken opponent to same-sex marriage). If Ford believed that Jewish people shouldn’t be allowed to have their marriages legally recognized there would be no question that he is anti-semitic. So why then is it wrong to call him homophobic? The answer? Isn’t not. It’s just that the people defending him don’t have a proper understanding of what homophobia is nor do they have an understanding of what it feels like to be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation.

Rob Ford is homophobic - there are no ifs ands or buts about it. However Rob Ford is also the Mayor of Toronto and Toronto Pride is one of the city’s largest events that brings in over $100 million to the city and brings over 1 million people into the downtown core. Not showing up to this is just bad form all around. Were he simply a councillor yeah no problem. But Rob Ford knew what he was getting into when he ran for mayor. If he didn’t like it then he shouldn’t have run. While it’s not mandated it’s still seen as the mayor’s duty to show up to major city events.

While it doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Ford is not going to be attending any events what does surprise me is that a) some people are surprised and b) that some people are offended that people are calling him homophobic - because he his. Hell he won some votes because he is homophobic. The man has tried to revoke city funding for Pride for christsake.

Sigh - I’m just looking forward to a fun filled week of events now. Where we and really everyone can take pride in the achievements we have made and remember those who fought so hard to make those achievements possible.

June 24, 2011

Moving into Pride Week here in Toronto I think it’s important to remember how far we have come and who the people who fought for our rights and stood up for our community are. This is a great video surrounding the backdrop around which the Toronto bathhouse raid and subsequent riots helped to galvanize the gay liberation movement not only in Toronto but around Canada in a way reminicent of the Stonewall Riots 12 years earlier in the United States.