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Toronto Pride Week 2011 Should Welcome All, Even Rob Ford

If the gay community gets all righteous over yearning for the approval of this one fellow citizen, then more urgent issues are suffering. We need to get on with the wonderful work of proudly remaining open and inclusive to all.

Settle down, citizens, this is waaaay too much hyperventilating over this non-issue.

First, who's surprised? There's no bait-and-switch here. All we're seeing is what Mayor Ford promised us we would see, according to his principles. His decision about attending Pride events is not provocative, it's just consistent.

Whatever you think of our mayor, he's still a citizen with a personal life and isn't obliged to have his every domestic activity turned into a political pain party. "Oh Your Worship, that's just so hurtful..."

As a politician, I believe he received bad advice from his PR/media team. He needs a refund from whoever failed to suggest a "Mayor's Pride Reception" in advance of the weekend. Invite the key community and social players, the arts leadership, the chaps-free crowd.

It's not that Mayor Ford is missing from the parade, it's that he's missing from the process.

Where is the savvy political thinking? -- also known as the solution. "Lalala I can't hear you, I'm up north!" This is not a solution, at least not a politically evolved one.

As a conscientious objector to exuberant gay celebrations, Mayor Ford could still earn respect as an ambassador between the straight and the gay communities -- if he were to choose such a statesman-like attitude.

One swell reception-on-his-turf later (no nudity permitted, thank God), and at least a gracious and honourable gesture would have gone on record. Sounds stuffy, but it's workable and would have reduced this inexcusable drain on our forests and dwindling reserves of ink. And bandwidth. And Ritalin.

If the gay community gets all righteous over yearning for the approval of this one fellow citizen, then more urgent issues are suffering. Basically, where's the healthy shrug and yawn over this? Rx: Perspective.

What if the Gay community inquired specifically as to what would make Mayor Ford feel welcome at Pride -- or at least less bear-like? (Bears, please stop drawing beards on our Mayor...)

He should be assigned a parade vehicle positioned right near PFLAG Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. They could chat kindly with Mayor Ford about what he would do if one of his own family were gay.

Even former Mayor Mel Lastman was finally convinced that feet in mouth was not considered homo-erotic, and joined in the Pride spirit during his orally-challenged reign.

We need to get on with the wonderful work of proudly remaining open and inclusive to all -- and wish our Mayor a pleasant long weekend with his family. As we will be enjoying the weekend with our family.

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