Panel recommends “considerable downsizing” to Pride festival, along with new ways Pride Toronto can avoid another lousy year

Panel recommends “considerable downsizing” to Pride festival, along with new ways Pride Toronto can avoid another lousy year

The 2010 Pride parade. 2011’s may be a little slimmer (Image: ryePix)

Last year, it’s safe to say, will not go down in the history books as Pride Toronto’s greatest. There was the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid debacle and associated internal strife, all culminating in last month’s revelation that the festival is insolvent, having spent way more last year than it took in. The job of fixing this mess fell to Pride Toronto’s Community Advisory Panel, chaired by the Reverend Brent Hawkes. The CAP’s report is here [PDF], but to summarize: “Pride Toronto, say you’re sorry and make sure that 2010 never happens again.” We’re not kidding. A general apology is one of the first recommendations.

Xtra was at the meeting last night where the report was released:

Francisco Alverez, chair of the Pride Toronto board of directors, earned a standing ovation after telling the crowd that he accepts the CAP’s recommendations “wholesale,” at least “in spirit.” Alvarez also gave a heartfelt apology on behalf of the board to the whole community.

The sweeping report covers everything from finances to entertainment. A significant portion of the report is dedicated to repairing rifts between Pride Toronto (PT), the trans community and people of colour.

The first recommendation is that “Pride Toronto should be saved and its programming considerably downsized.”

So, yes, there will be a Pride parade this year, though possibly a smaller one than in years past—and there will certainly be changes, including splitting the parade into three separate groups and making sure that participants sign a broadly written anti-discrimination policy. (Hear that, QUAIA?) Not signing the policy would exclude any group from the parade, as would signing it and violating the policy.

Many of the report’s suggestions are in the spirit of having a Pride celebration focused more on the actual LGBT community in Toronto. For example, commercial parade floats can’t just sell phones or condos anymore; they have to have some LGBT-themed messaging. Corporate sponsors might be asked whether, for example, they “proactively hire LGBT individuals.” Not all of this is immediate, though: the rules for corporate sponsors will come into effect next year, giving business time to catch up.

• Advisory Panel offers sweeping 133 recommendations to Pride Toronto [Xtra]
• Pride keen to move beyond scandals [Toronto Star]
• Community Advisory Panel Executive Summary (PDF) [CAP]