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WATCH: TDSB shoots down anti-nudity Pride motion

Trustees reaffirm support for Pride

Toronto's public school board has shot down a move to ask the city whether it plans to crack down on public nudity at this year's Pride parade.

Trustee Sam Sotiropoulos said he couldn't be part of "tacit support of nudity" in the annual Pride parade, which the Toronto District School Board has taken part in since 1996.

Toronto hosts World Pride this June. The event is expected to draw two million people to the city over a nine-day festival.

Sotiropoulos' fellow trustees opted not to even debate his motion Wednesday night, moving straight to a vote. People sitting in the public gallery, including some queer TDSB teachers, applauded as the motion was defeated 6-16.

Before the meeting, about two dozen demonstrators stood against Sotiropoulos' motion outside the TDSB's Yonge St headquarters. Wearing rainbow buttons, they banged on drums and sang "Hey Sam, get off of our Pride" and the Beatles' "All You Need is Love".

 

 

Demonstrators called Sotiropoulos' motion homophobic and damaging to the both the queer community and to young people questioning their sexuality.

Sotiropoulos wasn't surprised his motion was so soundly defeated.

"I believe this board is out of touch with the majority of the population in this city, has been for quite some time", he told reporters.

Sotiropoulos said he had received hundreds of emails of support, though many of those supporters didn't want to come forward for fear of being labelled.

Trustee Maria Rodrigues characterized Sotiropoulos' motion as being part of "a Conservative, right-wing, homophobic agenda."

Rodrigues fought back tears as she read aloud a motion asking the board to re-affirm support for Pride Toronto. The move was overwhelmingly adopted, with only three votes against.

"To me, it's about human rights and the right to express yourself", she later explained. "And I want our students in our school board to feel good about themselves, to feel included in everything in the school board and in society and to be able to stand up for themselves and to stand for justice."

Trustees used discussion on Rodrigues' motion as a chance to sound off on the nudity issue.

Sotiropoulos, who has never been to Pride, pointed out that the board offers no disclaimer to parents about stripping down at the parade. But Sotiropoulos says he's no prude. He has been to nude beaches in Europe, though he didn't strip down himself. Sotiropoulos said the difference is that those beaches are clearly marked and the nudity doesn't spill into the city centre.

Sheila Cary-Meagher didn't see the big deal. "If you do not wish to see other people's dangly bits, don't go (to Pride). Don't take your children."

Trustee Jerry Chadwick says it's an issue for parents, not the school board. Sheila Ward agreed they should butt out.

"I'd suggest we have enough to do just trying to get ourselves un-muddled at the TDSB, without mussing into everybody else's business in the city", Ward told the board.

RELATED: TDSB to spend more time studying police checks for volunteers

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  • 16
  1. 123123 posted on 04/10/2014 01:28 AM
    They shouldn't be voting on this or voting to support pride to begin with. The parade itself has nothing to do with the TDSB.
    1. Frankie posted on 04/10/2014 06:02 AM
      @123123 You're a gay dude aren't you?
    2. Dawn posted on 04/10/2014 10:14 AM
      @Frankie Sotoripoulous has never been to a Pride Parade and knows not what he talks about which is why it was soundly defeated. It should not have wasted so much time at TDSB
  2. Al Bundy posted on 04/10/2014 07:54 AM
    The A holes are running the asylum. One of them says that it is OK to have public nudity, as it is sanctioned by the courts. Since when?? They would sell their soul just to look good and get votes. Sad, sad sad, when kids have to be exposed to this kind of lewd behaviour.
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 04/10/2014 09:28 AM
      @Al Bundy Agreed.
      Shelly Carroll this morning called it a high point for City Council. Not surprised she's willing to give herself a pat on the back for a job well done.
    2. Fillibuster posted on 04/10/2014 09:41 AM
      @Al Bundy The same exemption to public nudity is given to the Toronto Naked Bike ride. Funny how none of you people who claim not to be homophobic don't have a problem with that. As for *gasp* The Children!!! You could always keep them at home that day, doing something more wholesome like say, playing Grand Theft Auto.
    3. Mark7 posted on 04/10/2014 09:53 AM
      @Karl Burgin What's the problem with public nudity. Under our clothes aren't we all completely naked?
    4. Karl Burgin posted on 04/10/2014 09:56 AM
      @Fillibuster There's a Toronto Naked Bike Ride?!?!?!
  3. Ryan posted on 04/10/2014 08:55 AM
    If you've never been to Toronto's Pride Parade, let me break it down for you:

    5% standard parade stuff, like marching bands and local clubs showing support
    5% other positive stuff, like a float for "Veterans supporting Marriage Equality" or whatever
    80% every negative gay stereotype you've ever seen or heard of

    It's like if the Indians threw a Native Pride Parade, and the vast majority of it was guys in Tonto costumes swigging from whiskey bottles and pretending to wipe their asses with taxpayer money.
  4. Bill R posted on 04/10/2014 09:24 AM
    Police hardly ever enforces laws equally for all. Remember Caledonia.
    When someone tries to remind them to do their duty and in this case arrest those that under any other circumstances (e.g. straight person being nude in public) would be arrested also.
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 04/10/2014 09:58 AM
      @Bill R That's different. That matter is provincial- and the Liberals are the ones really pulling the strings there. And we all know how that turned out now, don't we?
  5. Joe Johnston posted on 04/10/2014 04:47 PM
    Nude is not lewd! Most people on this comment thread have clearly never read the law on public nudity (section 174 of the Criminal Code). Jurisprudence shows that public nudity cannot be prosecuted if it is done in a place that is expected, for protest or for art. That is why nobody in the World Naked Bike Ride is arrested for public nudity, because they are protesting. That is why nobody who participates in the Spencer Tunik art photos gets arrested, because its for art. There is a law against endangering children, and I dont see or hear anybody complainning about the exhaust fumes from the parade floats polluting the air our children breath! Nudity at the Pride Parade is to be expected, so the law as written does not apply and that is why there has not been an arrest or prosecution regarding this for the last 14 years. And even if the law did apply, so what, a naked human body, are you guys that ashamed of your body? Believe me, your victorian puritanical views are imposing body shame on our children, not protecting them! Children dont care about nudity until adults like you impose your body shame on them!
    1. AdrianoC1981 posted on 04/10/2014 05:23 PM
      @Joe Johnston If a man exposed himself to your child would you be preaching the same story or are you the kind of man that would expose himself to children thinking that there is nothing wrong with it?
    2. Joe Johnston posted on 04/10/2014 06:26 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 @AdrianoC1981 You are mixing apples and oranges. There is a law against exposing yourself to children for a sexual purpose and there is law regarding public nudity. They are not the same thing. Im sure that Pride Parade participants don't go nude in the parade with the goal to expose themselves to children for a sexual purpose. In fact the children are not even forced to be there! Believe me, children already know that people have genitals because they have genitals themselves. If you want to hide this fact from your children, then simply don't bring them! Personally, I bring my children to the nudist beach, and they are well adjusted and have no body issues. They have also learned not to judge others and to accept that there are all kinds of body shapes and sizes. On European beaches, many people are naked, and I havent heard of any stories about those children's lives being ruined because they saw a simple naked human body! I don't see you complaining about people who participate in the World Naked Bike Ride, and trust me, plenty of children including my own have seen these naked bike rides and guess what, they are not traumatized by it, their lives aren't ruined by it! In fact, there are things a lot worse for a child to see than a simple naked human body, and I dont hear you playing the ''what about the children'' card with those issues. For example, TV and movies are filled with violence and gratuitous murder, blood and killings. Many computer games are the same, they are violent and involve shooting people with guns. Personally, I'd rather my child see a naked human than a violent James Bond movie. But guess what, in both cases I've taught them that if they dont like what they are seeing, they can simply look the other way! Lastly, I've noticed that often in the swimming pool change room that children are exposed to naked human bodies. Never heard a complaint about this, or somebody getting arrested because they were naked in the change room. Never even heard of children being traumatized because they saw a naked body in the swimming pool change room! Clearly you are selective in your anti-nudity stance. The day you come to the defence of children who see the World Naked Bike Ride, the children who see nudity in the swimming pool change room and the children whose parents bring them to the nudist beach then I might believe in what you are trying to advocate, but until then you are clearly being homophobic in your selection of the Toronto Pride Parade as the only entity where nudity should be banned. Again, if you dont like it, dont go, and if you dont like what you are seeing, look the other way. Its too bad so many people, like you, are ashamed of their bodies and its too bad that adults like you impose your body shame on children! Again, ask the children on the beaches in Europe what they think. You might be surprised to learn that children simply dont care about a naked body. The worse they will do is giggle!
  6. AdrianoC1981 posted on 04/10/2014 05:19 PM
    Thank God my children attend Catholic school. The TDSB is disgusting and promoting public nudity by taking part in the gay parade. Why In gods name would any law abiding citizen feel that it is ok for these disgusting animals to prance around naked during the parade or anywhere for that matter. The TDSB represents "OUR" children and for some holy reason they feel that naked grown men during a parade is good life lesson for our children. DISGUSTING & DISGRACEFUL!!!! What values are our children gaining from the TDSB participating in this parade. NONE!!!!! Enough is enough. The LGBT community wants MORE rights, not EQUAL rights. You want to know something? If these people think that they for some reason deserve more rights than straight people, then maybe they should all move to an island where they can prance around naked and draw rainbows wherever and whenever they want to. EQUAL RIGHTS NOT MORE RIGHTS! Before you whiners suck out and call me homophobic, smarten up. I have gay friends and NONE of them attend the parade because of the lewd behaviour of all the morons who do attend. According to really shallow individuals, if you don't agree with public nudity during the gay parade, then obviously you have to be homophobic. GET OVER YOURSELVES, try not to use the Homophobic card too much, it's getting really old.
    1. Joe Johnston posted on 04/10/2014 06:45 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 @ AdrianoC1981 Its not a question of one group getting more rights over others. Its a question about applying the law as written! Have you even read section 174 of the Criminal Code? Probably not! This section does not apply in situations where nudity can be expected, like the WNBR or like when Spencer Tunik takes a photo of 5000 naked people in downtown Montreal. So again, its not about giving more rights to some, its simply that the law is being applied as written. Don't like it, then I suggest you fight or get elected to have it changed. I also recommend that you read the law so at least then you can claim to know what you are talking about. You thank god in your comment, and you mention that your children are in catholic school. Well I have news for you, God created a naked human body! But here you are claiming to be religious yet insulting god's creation as disgusting and disgraceful. Your contradictory logic makes no sense, and in fact, is quite usual when it comes to the mental illness that is religion (believing in something you cant prove exists, believing that god created the naked body yet calling his creation disgusting). I call that severe mental illness. Again, nude is not lewd! You know what children dont like to see, is people smoking cigarettes. Havent heard you advocate to have cigarettes banned in the name of ''the children''. Yet cigarettes aren't natural and god did not create them. Cigarettes even kill people whereas nude bodies kill nobody! But you wont fight against cigarattes or call them disgraceful and disgusting. However, you are ready to call the nude human body that god created disgraceful and disgusting, wow! My suggestion to you is to take a look at yourself in the mirror. Guess what, you have a naked body like everybody. Why are you so ashamed of it? One last thing, knowing of how many catholic priests sexually abused children, I would never send my child to a catholic school. On the other hand, I've never heard of a gay Pride Parade participant sexually abusing a child, or showing a child an erect penis (we all know that their penises are flaccid and not in a state or arousal), yet you claim that catholic school is good, and that gay pride parade is bad. Again, the mental illness that is religion is quite amazing sometimes!
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