Monthly Archives: July 2015

2010 the year when the Pride Parade may not have happened, in Toronto

I remember this note posted by my business partner  Todd Klinck back in 2010 and wanted to put it out there again, so I could re-cap. Todd and myself had never received so much backlash from our own community as we did in 2010 (certainly helped weed out the idiots). We really appreciated the people who took out the time to ask us what we where thinking, before sending the angry torch baring villagers, to our front door. Most of them apologized at the time but many still have not. Which tells me they where looking for an excuse to dump on us from the start. We certainly had always tolerate some closed minded Queers judging us, because we had the guts to be pro-sex & pro sex work, and not pretend to be anything else. Even to this day people think we operate a brothel or run a sex club. That is because some people decided to judge too quickly. And unfortunately so many choose to spend their Queer dollar in establishments, who otherwise do not welcome Queer people, but will if we are giving them our money (on certain occasions). Then when a Queer owned and operated venue closes, everyone cries into their milk (drawn from hypocrite cows only). For example we have been running the only weekly T-Girl party in Canada for over 9 years, and a large number of T-Girls have not even bothered to walk in the door, thinking it is just for sex workers. Most (not all) of the T-girls that do come once a week, grab as much money off the patrons as possible (some not all) and disappear out the door, to spend that money elsewhere. They do not have to pay cover, the men pay the booth fees for them and the men pay for their drinks. Thanks goodness for the T-Girl admirers or we would not have survived. Our venue has always been pro workers, sex or otherwise! But the insane thing about Pride 2010 was the people who where up in arms regarding freedom of speech, where exactly the same ones who came down on us for wanting to promote free speech & diversity. Those where the days smile emoticon

This was the original post by Todd Klinck:
Trust Us
June 6, 2010 at 6:02pm
Dear Community:

Mandy Goodhandy and I have been receiving e-mails and public comments urging us to back-pedal on our decision to lead the Pride 2010 parade as Grand Marshals. These messages have directly questioned our intentions, asked us to clarify our positions on free speech, have asked us how we feel about the Pride Toronto censorship of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) and in some cases, have suggested that we are being “used” by Pride Toronto as a “cover”, and implied that we do not know what we are doing in this whole situation.

Let us clarify (and I have been clear from the very beginning): We support free speech. We encourage dissent. We encourage QuAIA to march in the parade, whether authorized or unauthorized.

We are not being “used” as puppets by Pride Toronto. We were nominated for this honour in March, and we patiently awaited a decision. We very much believe that having such a diverse group as ours leading this parade will be good for the city, good for publicizing important issues, and we are very much “pro-parade” and “pro-Pride” the festival (as opposed to “pro-Pride”, the Pride Toronto organization).

Pride Toronto has at no time asked us to be supportive of their policies or actions, they have only asked if we will accept the honour as offered by the community members involved in the selection process. We now have the chance to march with a loud, colourful, uncensored marching contingent of supporters related to the causes and events that we have directly dealt with inside our nightclub Goodhandy’s over the past 4 years. To those who are accusing us of wanting this honour just for publicity and capitalism – as Paul Gallant articulately says in this article on his blog http://bird.blogspot.com/2010/06/whats-really-been-in-and-out-of-parade.html “One of the criticisms I’ve heard levelled against QuAIA is that they’re nothing but attention-seekers. Uhhh, it’s a parade. Everybody who wants to be in a parade is an attention-seekers. It’s the single common denominator of parade participants.” Well put, Paul. We want to draw attention to the fact that our community involves sex workers, trans people, nudists, fetishists, and that sex positivity is important. Our issues are inherently interwoven with the issue that has caused this massive rift and controversy: FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. And yes, we are a very small “mom and pop business”, that has struggled to keep our doors open for more than 4 years, and any publicity that can potentially help our business, will help our survival. Being entrepreneurs is nothing to be ashamed of.

As to Pride Toronto – it appears they are in a mess. When organizations that represent the community become in a mess, the best thing to do is to challenge them, question them, and sometimes even dismantle them. We all have our causes, we all have our issues, and we encourage those of you who are out there challenging Pride Toronto to be more accountable to the community to continue forth with these challenges. Our roles as Grand Marshal, as we see it to lead an exciting and outrageous and political parade. And to focus on the issues that are specifically close to us – the things that were highlighted in our nomination package.

We are both big fans of “Pride Toronto, the Massive Cultural Festival”, and yes, that festival includes parties, corporate sponsors, entertainment, massive spectacle, outrageous silliness, as well as political representation and messages from organizations directly related to the queer community, and even those unrelated to the queer community. That is why we have always been a big fan of the parade and the festival. It is a time when hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Toronto to celebrate diversity. It is often the first time young kids see massive gatherings of queer people, which make them feel safer and more liberated. By being such a mainstream celebration, it gets exposure in all media, which helps spread the message wider and wider that queers are here, we’re not going away, and if that saves even one queer person from suicide or violence, then it is all worthwhile.

We are very fascinated to see which way this all heads. There are talks of forming alternative Pride celebrations or parades – why not? The more, the merrier. It’s possible that Pride Toronto as we know it will not even exist by next year. But in the meantime, there is less than 4 weeks until hundreds of thousands of people descend upon our city. And we think that it is important to move forward and make the best of this not-so-good situation by presenting what Toronto has become world famous for – an amazing, kick-ass, political, fun, and outrageous Pride festival. It does not seem practical to boycott the Festival, as candidate for City Council Susan Gapka said on a recent Facebook post ” it is a matter of approach & both could be options; alternative events, & Pride Toronto events in protest. The alternative events are great, yet competing with official events for media, organisation, etc. A visible protest within the official structures will gain immediate attention, in addition to bring the news of discontent to the 100s of thousands who come only for the celebration & parade.”

To those of you who are returning your past Pride Toronto honours, we respect you. To those of you who are questioning our integrity by not joining the other honourees in returning our honour, remember, sometimes it is better to have someone on the inside supporting the cause. We feel that returning our honours and refusing to lead the Parade would be counter-productive to the overall goals of the community.

Our involvement with this Parade and this festival IS political. Don’t worry, we are not getting used! Please trust us.

Respectfully, Todd Klinck and Mandy Goodhandy

 

Pride parade 2010 Grand Marshall

Pride parade 2010 Grand Marshall