The controversy we've all been ducking an just hoping would go away appears to have hit a flashpoint in the national media, with the National Post now reporting that Pride Toronto has banned the anti-Israeli-occupation group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from participating in the parade. Queer activist Andrew Brett blogs about the government and corporate pressure that he alleges members of the Jewish community have leveraged against Pride to get the group banned. And Pride Toronto issues a vague press release that doesn't actually confirm that the group's been banned, but "rejects in the strongest terms any statements made by persons claiming to speak on its behalf that embrace a political or partisan viewpoint" -- uh, is that a reference to Pride Grand Marshall El-Farouk Khaki's recent speech at a QAIA event? And since when does Pride "not have any affiliations whatsoever to political entities or causes"? Isn't the whole point of Pride that it's a public declaration of the fight for queer rights?
On the brighter side of the news, the old Queen visited premier McGuinty this week. Yes, that's right Dalton shook hands with Elton John himself, who may or may not have been staying a mysterious mansion in Caledon that John may or may not own, according to the Star. Perhaps the country estate would be a good place to bury the harmonised sales tax that MPPs are begging the premier to do a better job of covering up. (Today's queer angle on the HST: with the new tax, professional services and performance venues are no longer exempt from provincial sales taxes. Expect salon visits, concerts, and theatre tickets to all rise 8% next year!)
Toronto City Council took the bizarre step of imposing a moratorium on licensing new bars on rapidly hipsterizing Ossington Ave. Because in Toronto, when you have a successful, fun, and enjoyable neighbourhood where people are working, playing, and living in harmony, something must be wrong. See also the new club moratorium on Church St.
Hilariously alarmist news from The Star: Toronto's Catholic District School Board doesn't know what to do about St. Joseph's Morrow Park and Brebeuf College, all-girls and all-boys high schools in North York. The current plan is to relocate St. Ho's next door to Gaybeuf so it can sell off surplus land, but parents think the idea of putting teenage girls and boys in neighbouring buildings -- not even the same classes -- will be dangerous somehow. Why, it's almost as bad as if they were in the same building together! Like all the other school kids in Canada!
And this weekend sees two great fundraisers happening at Goodhandy's. On Friday, check out the Artwherk! Collective's fundraiser for its annual Pride show, and on Sunday, Genet's Divas and Delinquents is a fundraiser party for upcoming productions of the queer French playwright's Deathwatch and The Maids. I'll be at both parties, and hope to see you there!