The other day, I was having a conversation with some people and the issue of Rob Ford coming back from rehab was brought up. I do this thing where I sometimes I assume everyone is on the same page as me (don’t we all, from time to time?) and so I rolled my eyes dramatically and said, “Ugh, how convenient that he scheduled his return from rehab to be right after Pride.”
And one of the other people I was talking to kind of just blinked and looked at me and said, “Well, what does it matter if he went or not?”
What does it matter?
It matters a whole bunch, actually.
They went on, saying, “I mean, him not attending Pride isn’t as bad as him, you know, saying actually homophobic things, don’t you think?” — Well, suuuuure, on a certain level. Except you’re ignoring the fact that he HAS said homophobic in the past. Furthermore, saying his non-attendance is blame-free passivity isn’t okay. It would be like if a bully was picking on a kid, and there were a bunch of other kids standing around, not doing anything. You wouldn’t go up to them and say, “Hey, bystanders! Good for you for not partaking in the bullying!” You’d probably be more likely to think, “Uh, why aren’t you getting involved and sticking up for that poor kid that’s getting bullied?” Same thing here, except on a much bigger scale.
Then they continued on, saying, “Well, I didn’t go to Pride. Does everyone have to go to Pride?” Nope, not everyone. But keep in mind that you’re not the elected mayor of the largest city in Canada, which is home to the largest LGBT population in Canada, which is hosting World Pride, an event that only happens once every four years and brings in tourists and business and an unbelievable amount of happiness to the city. Elected politicians have different responsibilities than everyday citizens. Maybe big crowds cause you anxiety, or maybe you didn’t want to face the extremely hot temperatures that were goin’ on that day — that’s fine, if you’re an everyday citizen. But if you’re an elected politician — a representative of the population you’re supposed to fairly serve — then you’ve got a responsibility to show up, wave, say hello and make an appearance. Show your support. Be a responsible human being. Accept and celebrate the population of Toronto.
So it’s not okay that Rob Ford didn’t attend Pride. It’s not okay that he never has, and that he (as he himself stated) never will. But, then again, maybe it’s for the best that he wasn’t there — nothing crashes a party quite like blatant racism and homophobia. Stay home and keep making excuses for yourself, you giant buttface.