Rob Ford was the only member of Toronto city council to vote against a proposal to help gay homeless youth Thursday, just a day after he was the only councillor not to join in a standing ovation for WorldPride organizers.
The motion — which passed 37-1 — asks city staff to study allocating 25 per cent of beds in a youth shelter to LGBTQ individuals. It also asks staff to consider the feasibility of a shelter dedicated to homeless gay youth.
A 2013 study from a University of Toronto researcher suggests gay youth face frequent verbal and physical abuse in city shelters.
On Wednesday, Ford refused to release his "hold" on the motion — a tactic forcing a council item to be debated rather than passed without a vote. The reason, evidently, was that he wanted to voice his disapproval.
Olivia Chow, one of the frontrunners to replace Ford as mayor in October, took to Twitter to express her disappointment.
Ford voted no to a LGBTQ youth shelter. In a world free of homophobia we wouldn’t need one. It’s a world he refuses to help create. #TOpoli— Olivia Chow (@oliviachow) July 10, 2014
John Tory, another top mayoral candidate, expressed a similar sentiment online the day before.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the only openly gay or lesbian member of council, told reporters Thursday that she's seen enough this week to conclude Ford has a problem with gay people.
"The mayor is homophobic," she said.
Cllr Kristyn Wong-Tam says mayor Rob Ford is "homophobic" he was the lone vote against a report on LGBT shelter beds pic.twitter.com/6fGuIaJQ6w— Jack Boland (@TorSunphoto21) July 10, 2014
Ford, however, maintains that he is no such thing.
"You guys have asked me this question for 14 years," he told reporters Wednesday. "And you know the answer. I’m not homophobic."
Ford, who recently returned from a two-month stint at rehab, has blamed his substance abuse issues for the homophobic and racist slurs in the past.
"When you have this disease, you say things, you do things, that aren't you," he recently told a CBC reporter.
Toronto voters head to the polls on October 27.
Related on HuffPost:
1) He Raised A Ruckus About City Funding For LGBTQ
As a city councillor back in 2005, Ford sparked controversy by <a href="http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=188969" target="_blank">speaking out</a> against city funding for LGBTQ programs. "I don't understand. Number one, I don’t understand a transgender. I don’t understand. Is it a guy dressed up like a girl, or a girl dressed up like a guy? And we’re funding this for – I don’t know, what does it say here – we’re giving them $3,210?"
2) He Voted Against Funding To Fight AIDS
Four years before becoming mayor, Ford voted against the city <a href="http://www.citynews.ca/2006/06/29/councillor-rob-ford-under-fire-over-aids-comments/" target="_blank">spending $1.5 million to fight AIDS.</a> "If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably," he said in council chambers. "That’s the bottom line.... How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men."
3) He Spoke Out Against Funding Pride Week
Then, just three years before becoming mayor, Ford said the city shouldn't be <a href="http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/7364-ford-slams-city-for-pride-grant/" target="_blank">"supporting sexuality"</a> with taxpayer money. "Do we have a straight parade? Do we have a heterosexual parade? Do we fund that? No, so I don't know why (are we) funding other things like that?"
4) He Refuses To Take Part In The Pride Parade
Since becoming mayor in 2010, Ford has consistently avoided the Pride parade, always maintaining it conflicts with an annual trip to the family cottage. However, during a debate in February, Ford admitted <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/02/06/rob-ford-gay-pride-parade_n_4737098.html" target="_blank">he does not participate because it's just the way he is </a> "I'm not going to go to the Pride parade," he said. "I've never gone to a Pride parade. So I'm not going to change the way I am."
5) He Reportedly Used A Homophobic Slur Against Trudeau
According to The Toronto Star, Ford called Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/22/rob-ford-video-justin-trudeau-slur_n_3319378.html" target="_blank">"f-g" </a>in the 2013 video that appeared to show him smoking crack.
6) He Didn't Want The Rainbow Flag Flying At City Hall
Ford took exception to a rainbow flag raised at City Hall <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/02/07/rob-ford-rainbow-flag-toronto_n_4746670.html" target="_blank">in support of gay athletes competing in the Sochi Olympics</a>. Russia passed a number of heinous anti-gay laws this year. "This is about the Olympics, this is about being patriotic to your country," he said. "This is not about somebody's sexual preference." Ford was unsuccessful in his attempt to have the flag removed.
7) He Was Angry Tim Hudak Agreed 'With All The Gays'
Ford was recorded in an Etobicoke bar in April criticizing former Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak for <a href="http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/04/30/rob-ford-tape-full-text-the-audio-tape-of-the-toronto-mayor-at-an-etobicoke-bar-disparaging-karen-stintz/" target="_blank">agreeing that a rainbow flag should also fly at Queen's Park </a>during the Olympics. Ford suggested Hudak just went along with what a "gay organization" wanted. "Tim Hudak comes out and says 'yeah I agree with all the gays,'" Ford is heard saying. The mayor said Hudak "lost his vote."
8) He Refused To Give Standing Ovation To WorldPride Organizers
In July, Ford was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/09/rob-ford-world-pride-standing-ovation_n_5571104.html" target="_blank">the sole member of council</a> not to stand and applaud organizers and staff who worked on the WorldPride festival. He refused to say why but told reporters after that he is not homophobic.
9) He Is Against Helping Out Gay Homeless Youth
A day after the standing ovation controversy, Ford was the only member of Toronto city council to vote against a proposal to help gay homeless youth. The motion urged city staff to <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/toronto2014election/2014/07/10/rob_ford_casts_lone_vote_against_proposal_to_help_gay_homeless_youth.html" target="_blank">study allocating 25 per cent of beds in a youth shelter to LGBTQ+youth and possibly create a shelter just for them.</a> It passed 37-1.
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