Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why LGBTQI and allied groups should invite Michael Coren to Pride

I haven’t been asked to lead any marches at Pride this year and, frankly, I doubt that’s ever likely to happen!
Michael Coren
June 28, 2014

Toronto Pride 2013 / Photo by Gordon Nore
Across Canada many communities are preparing for Pride celebrations sometime this summer. Toronto's celebration will close on Stonewall Sunday -- the last Sunday of June, marking the riots that began in the wee hours Sunday, June 28th, 1969. 

It caps a weekend that includes the *Trans March on Friday evening, and Saturday's Dyke March, now in its twenty-first year. All of this comes at the end of a nine-day festival.

Michael Coren's I was wrong column came out on the day of the Dyke March at WorldPride Toronto, on Saturday, June 28th, 2014. This year, as it so happens, Toronto's big Sunday Pride parade comes on -- you guessed it -- June 28th.

Since the publication of that column, Michael has been vilified by some people of faith for his change of heart, and, more recently, news of his move to the Anglican Communion from the Catholic faith that he embraced in his twenties. He's defended Ontario's Health and Physical Education curriculum, notably debating Charles McVety on the subject. His family members have been stalked on social media. Speeches and writing assignments have been cancelled. 

Today, he published this in a Toronto Star newspaper guest column (emphasis mine):
I refused to base my entire world view and theology, as so many active Catholics do, around abortion, contraception and sex rather than love, justice and forgiveness. Frankly, it was tearing me apart. I wanted to extend the circle of love rather than stand at the corners of a square and repel outsiders. So I quietly and privately drifted over to an Anglican Church that while still working out its own position on many social issues, is far more progressive, open, relevant and willing to admit reality.
You see where I'm going with this.

Nobody really needs an invitation to attend Pride festivities -- that's the point of the thing. Nonetheless, for four years, activists and leaders in Toronto reached out to an obstinate Mayor Rob Ford -- olive branch in hand -- each time rudely rebuffed. 

It's time we extended this courtesy to Michael. I encourage every organization -- LGBTQI or allied -- to invite Michael Coren to attend Pride festivities. Not just in Toronto, but everywhere. LGBTQI orgs, faith groups, PFLAG chapters or labour unions, to name a few. Whether in Ontario or Newfoundland or British Columbia. In towns big or small.

Let's show some #Pride4Michael Coren.

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