Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jane Farrow declines Pride Toronto's Honoured Dyke title

Jane Farrow has rejected Pride Toronto's invitation to be this year's "Honoured Dyke" citing the censorship of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. From her letter published today by XTRA! and sent to the Pride Toronto board:
"As a long time cultural producer, journalist and community organizer, the practice and ideals of free speech are very dear to me. I also value and celebrate the political essence of my queer identity. Queers have rightfully insisted that the personal is political, so when more than a few of us get together in one place, political terrain is created. To me, queer gatherings of any sort – parades, demos, cultural events, sporting clubs and disco dance parties – are and always will be implicitly political events. It's little wonder then that a wide variety of political groups and voices seek to be heard at pride festivities."
She continues:
"A discourse of 'safety' and 'inclusion' has been put forward to justify censorship at Pride 2010. I feel this is unfortunate and wrong-headed. I, like many people, do not feel 'safer' or 'included' by any decision to limit political speech. Quite the opposite. As history shows, suppressing people's right to express and explore political difference leads to some very dark and dangerous places." 
Farrow joins Dr. Alan Li in declining honorary titles bestowed by Pride Toronto. It's very telling that real activists, the ones who actually participated in the struggle for gay rights in this country, are also the ones who've declined to legitimize the censorship and attempts to de-politicize by the current Pride Toronto board of directors.

UPDATE: Pink Triangle Press, publishers of XTRA! magazine call upon the Pride committee to reverse their decision to ban QuAIA.
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