Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

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Omnes et Nihil
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Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:38 am

FYI, Asexual Contingent in the Toronto Pride parade this year.

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011
Meeting at 1:30pm on Bloor between Jarvis and Church
Allies welcome

(Signs provided, but people are welcome to bring their own too)

This would be the frantic, last-minute attempt to increase our numbers. Please pass this along to anyone who might be interested or post this anywhere that might be relevant!

Thanks all.

michaels
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby michaels » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:01 am

What does a set of activities by oversexed people have to do with asexuality?

I don't want my sexual orientation to be a vermiform appendix on a bunch of shenanigans by people whose whole identity is wrapped up in their precious genitals.

Self-respecting asexuals will avoid this event at all costs.

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KAGU143
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby KAGU143 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:15 pm

I have to disagree with you, Michael. On several counts.
By all means, stay away from the Pride stuff if it bothers you. You wouldn't be the only asexual who wasn't intereted in Pride activities. Many asexuals want nothing to do with it.

To discourage those who DO want to attend it isn't fair, though, and to go farther and imply that they lack self respect for even wanting to attend seems needlessly insulting.
A lot of asexuals (more than the population average, by far) seem to have varying types of alternative gender identities. If they, or any other asexual, wish to take part in Pride activities then I think that they should do so with our full support. That doesn't mean we have to go with them - just that we respect their right to take part if they want to.

Related to your comment, Michael, but more of a separate topic:
Do you really, truly think that a person's sexual orientation is centered only below the belt? (I don't think that you do.)
Because, if an asexual is only emotionally attracted to others of their own sex (and that's not uncommon at all among asexuals) then what are they? Asexual or gay? The answer isn't always crystal clear, especially to those who are just finding out about asexuality, and it's possible that they might still feel a lot of connection with the LGBTA-XYZ community.
Gay asexuals are still asexual.

I don't worry about some ignorant people thinking that I might secretly be gay or lesbian because I openly identify as asexual, and because they heard of some asexual people who marched in Pride parades. If those people are too dense to grasp the most basic concept of why some asexuals choose to identify with other sexual minorities, then there is probably very little that can be done to educate them or reason with them. They are (in my opinion) not worth the time of day in any case, and I really don't care what they think.
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Omnes et Nihil
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby Omnes et Nihil » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:30 pm

michaels wrote:What does a set of activities by oversexed people have to do with asexuality?

I don't want my sexual orientation to be a vermiform appendix on a bunch of shenanigans by people whose whole identity is wrapped up in their precious genitals.

Self-respecting asexuals will avoid this event at all costs.


I really didn't expect this kind of a response here of all places, but I have been away for a while. Oversexed people? LGBT and ally school teachers who march to speak out against homophobic bullying and church groups who march because they welcome LGBTQ+ people into their congregations are "oversexed"? That's a new one.

I'm a self-respecting queer asexual and I planned this. Last year, a number of asexuals found an asexual community because they saw us in the parade, and many non-asexual people learned that we exist. The whole point of Pride generally is to remind people that we exist and that we matter.

I am mostly concerned that you condemn any and all asexual participation in pride parades, yet it doesn't sound like you've actually been to one or know what they are about-- most people who march are fully clothed members of church groups, student groups, youth groups, groups of supportive friends and family, groups of gay fathers and lesbian mothers with their children, professional groups (like teachers and nurses), cultural groups, groups of queer and trans friendly outdoor sports teams, political groups focused on the rights of LGBTQ+ people in various countries, etc. The history of pride parades dates back to people standing up against homophobic and transphobic violence, particularly from police. Even if today's Pride parades aren't overtly political (and are often unfortunately corporate) some aspects of them still are political. Clearly, those aren't the aspects of half-naked men, but even diverse women walking around topless and braless, without shame and without pandering to male standards of beauty or sexiness, is political. Women's bodies are still pathologised, and proudly displaying female chests of every shape, size and colour is still a political act. [It is perfectly legal here for *anyone* to go topless, regardless of gender: our courts saw to that in the 90s-- but women never do because breasts are taboo.]

There are actually probably more church groups than any other kind of group in the Toronto Pride parade. We have a number of churches here that support people LGBTQ+ people. In Canada, same-sex marriage was legalised *because* of a church--the United Church of Canada performed the marriages in according to their Christian rites which allowed them to do so, and then the court cases proceeded from there to have the government recognise the marriages. This year, there will probably many groups focused on trans rights, since a bill that would have guaranteed human rights protection for people regardless of their gender, gender expression, trans/cis status, was close to passing before it died when the government fell... and now it's less likely to pass under the current majority Conservative government.

Unfortunately, mainstream/conservative media often uses pictures of a small fraction of the people who do attend the parade-- men wearing wearing little clothing and/or bondage gear--because they have the greatest shock value. (The less conservative media outlets are more likely to feature images that better represent the LGBTQ+ communities, including representing images of lesbian moms with their children). The skewed shock-value portrayal tactic is used to sell more newspapers and to undermine public acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. Until today, I didn't realise how successful they were.

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ghosts
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby ghosts » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:17 am

That is quite bigoted & insulting, Michael.

I wouldn't worry about it, Omnes. I don't think most people here would react that way.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby michaels » Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:29 pm

Well, when I'm walking down the street and see two random parade attendees simulating intercourse on the hood of a total stranger's car stopped at a red light, I get a certain image of the participants that has nothing to do with supposedly biased media reporting.

And, yes, I'm aware that "quiet" asexuals like me appear to be a minority because we're not squeaky wheels and therefore don't get the grease. My guess, however, is that the vast majority of asexuals, just like the vast majority of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, don't need to make noisy public pronouncements about their sexuality because they see it as their own business and nobody else's. We realize that being proud of one's sexuality is something adolescents do, and genuinely mature adults accept their own sexuality as a matter of course.

But you're right about one thing: If other asexuals want to ride the caboose in another movement's train, who am I to argue against it? Let them, and I hope they aren't too bitter when they find out that they've been used.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby Dargon » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:22 am

When I'm walking down the street and see two random non-parade attendees simulating intercourse on the hood of a total stranger's car stopped at a red light, I realize they are a small, vocal minority heavily misrepresenting the countless decent folks who'd rather they wouldn't do that perhaps a bit more than I do. I do not succumb to conformation bias and allow their single data point to represent to me their entirety.

Asexuals may wish to ride the caboose of this train because this train has quite the powerful engine attached to the front, and considering the vast numbers still coming in saying they are just barely hearing of asexuality and realizing they are not broken, I'd say if it gets the still largely unheard name out there, then it may be worthwhile.

Now odds are asexuality can get off said train far before it reaches its destination, as there isn't much needed beyond recognition and acceptance, at least in asexuality's name, however I would argue it is us doing the using.


Just an aside: I would say the scantily clad and the penis costumes and the like which pride parades are often known for are doing a disservice to their cause, however for every one of them, there are easily dozens of decent folks in the same parade being decent folks. It's just we don't notice those.

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KAGU143
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby KAGU143 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:07 am

I have to agree that the exhibitionists aren't doing themselves or their causes any good at all.
They are a very small minority, but the media, being what it is, will almost always focus on them rather than on the majority, simply because they are motivated to seek ratings and profit rather than to report the simple truth.
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby michaels » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:28 pm

The statistics were released a few minutes ago. More than one million people either marched in the parade or stood along the route and watched.

Toronto has three million people. No, that doesn't mean one-third of the city's population necessarily participated in or observed the parade, because some of the marchers/watchers were from out of town. But the Pride Week activities are easily Toronto's biggest annual cultural event.

I've said before that I am a "quiet" asexual. In my daily life asexuality is never an issue and barely even a topic. Yes, informing people about asexuality is important. I know that first-hand because my life would have turned out much better if I had heard about asexuality in my teens or 20s rather than in my 40s. But it still bugs me to be lumped in with a bunch of perpetually squeaky wheels who do nothing but squeak noisily day and night. Those behind Pride Week have won every major battle there is for them to win. They wield an insanely huge amount of power and can bring Microsoft to its knees if they so choose. They continue to agitate for more power purely for the sake of keeping the flame of activism alive. I don't want to be part of that scene, and I believe that many other quiet asexuals don't, either.

There are asexuals who experience daily issues relating to their asexuality, ranging from ignorance and misunderstanding to outright persecution. They should seek help where it is available (although they should also be mindful that nothing in life is free, and those who offer them help will demand repayment of some sort eventually). The rest of us should be free to refuse the help we don't need, especially considering that we're guaranteed to be asked to repay for it later.

On a personal note, I'm coming to hate this noisy, hyperpoliticized city, where a middle-aged white man like me is the true oppressed minority. I wish housing costs were affordable elsewhere because I really, REALLY don't want to stay here.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby Dargon » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:16 pm

michaels wrote:Those behind Pride Week have won every major battle there is for them to win.


I ask this is a genuine question. Do gays have marriage rights equal to that of heterosexuals in Canada? And are they still routinely harassed (this often includes assault) for their sexuality? If these are no longer issues, then perhaps they no longer need to march there. That being said, here they still have a long, hard fight ahead of them.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby michaels » Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:48 am

Yes, Dargon, same-sex marriage has been legal everywhere in Canada for several years. In fact, my understanding is that a Catholic priest in Canada may not lawfully refuse to marry a same-sex couple in his church even if it violates his personal beliefs and the beliefs of his entire staff and every single member of his congregation. And the same-sex divorce rate in Canada is now approaching the same levels as the different-sex divorce rate.

In Toronto, only a fool would discriminate against someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Someone who engages in such discrimination is more likely to get physically assaulted than the other way around.

Our elementary schools do not teach spelling for fear of hurting kids' self-esteem. But they do teach from picture books with titles such as _Janice has Two Mommies_ (a book about the offspring of a married lesbian couple) to Kindergarten kids. My contact in Toronto's social work scene, herself a heterosexual woman, says that Toronto teenagers routinely complain to her about peer pressure to practise bisexuality whether or not they are attracted to members of the same sex, different sexes or nobody.

EDIT: At our three major universities here in Toronto, practising lesbianism is a de facto requirement if a female student wants to be socially accepted and perhaps even to graduate.

In short, this ain't Texas. Here, the alternative sexuality community is politically and socially dominant and very much in power.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby KAGU143 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:26 am

Which three Toronto universities are you referring to, Michael?
That's a pretty scary situation if it's true - or even if it's only partly true - and I would like to get in touch with some of their female students to see how it looks from their perspective.
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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby michaels » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:23 am

University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson. To the best of my knowledge those are the only three universities in Toronto.

If you gather any information on your own, feel free to share.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby Dargon » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:12 pm

That is quite the different environment there, Michael. If what you say is indeed true, then the pendulum may have swung a little too far there. Despite being for gay marriage, I am actually opposed to forcing churches to marry gays. I am, in fact, perfectly fine with the fact that most churches would refuse to marry me to someone of the opposite sex since I do not follow their beliefs. A Justice of the Peace ceremony is fine by me.

I can see how this can cause us drastically different views on both the gay rights movement as well as asexuality tagging along for the ride. Gays seem to have gained true equality there, whereas here it is still a high school past time to beat up gays.

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby Clarity » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:43 am

Uhh, Dargon, why are you giving him the benefit of the doubt about the church thing, given everything else he's said? I googled for a while, couldn't find any evidence that churches are required to perform same-sex marriages in Canada; indeed, several sites talk about churches that do perform same-sex marriages, which wouldn't make sense if they were all required to do so. Here, I'll provide an actual reference: http://gaymarriage.lifetips.com/cat/64320/gay-marriages-in-canada/index.html

From the same source, "Canadian immigration law does not recognize same-sex marriages conducted outside Canada. Several court cases have questioned this policy but so far immigration law has not been altered to accept marriages in the Netherlands, Belgium or Spain." So it looks like they don't actually have full marriage equality.

Personally, I think youth issues (from my US perspective) are far more important than marriage equality as LGBT issues. As such, if there is pressure to be bisexual for Toronto youth (I don't believe it's nearly what michaels claims it is, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were some youth's experience), then that's a problem queer activists would want to fight against. Clearly the peers responsible for the peer pressure aren't adequately respecting the pressured youth's boundaries, sexual agency, and identity.

Michaels seems committed to the war on straw. Yes, the group of people who attend a pride parade is incredibly diverse and is going to include many who do and say things none of us agree with. But few are single-minded, single-issue people who feel that gays are always the oppressed and the oppressors aren't worthy of respect. The vast majority don't think about being queer every day of the year, much less speak about it; that's why, you know, pride is an event. They're there to have fun, to meet up with friends, to be "out" about something they're often afraid to speak of, to feel warm and safe and secure, to reaffirm commitment to a cause of liberty and love, to honor the dead, to send a message to the scared and closeted or confused, to learn about new developments--like the asexual visibility movement.

And diversity activists in general? At our finest, we can get past categories and listen and care about the issues of "a middle-aged white man", just as we'd listen to the issues of anyone else who was suffering or denied equal opportunities. We don't have to believe everything anyone claims, from "our side" or any other, but we're not living up to our own ideals if we don't consider other claims. And I for one will call myself on it.

So if michaels provides a link to a real case where a Catholic priest was forced to marry a couple against his will and that of his organization, I'll examine it closely. More closely than I would arguments from people I already agree with, but, hey, at least I'm aware of the confirmation bias. And I'll sign the petition or whatever to restore freedom of religion, and I'll post it to my Facebook and say it's appalling. But from everything I know about religious freedom in Canada from today's Googling, I'm going to need a credible source before I decide to tell my friends about this recent edition of "when policies meant to be just go wrong".

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Re: Toronto Pride 2011: Sun July 3-- spread the word

Postby michaels » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:12 am

Thanks for parachuting in, Clarity. The activist gang needed reinforcement.