Premier Brian Pallister attended this year’s Pride Parade, along with thousands of others. Nice gesture. It’s encouraging to know that he is supportive of those constituents who are outside his normal comfort zone. It may signal a shifting in attitude on his part and perhaps he is now going to be more in step with the condescending types who consider themselves enlightened and those not of the same mindset as being knuckle draggers of the worst order.
But more than that it signals how fully cognizant Pallister is of the consequences of not attending. Because it’s 2016 any politician not attending a Pride parade runs a serious political risk. That individual will surely feel the full wrath of the LGBTQ community, not to mention every media outlet from here to Timbuktoo. The pressures to attend these events is enormous on mayors and premiers and those who don’t (remember Rob Ford) will be branded as outcasts. In short, it’s less of a hassle to go than to not go. The irony is that the LGBTQ community has fought for decades for acceptance. But now that those folks have moved into the mainstream of Canadian society have they taken on the same intolerant countenance of those who used to be able to mock them with impunity? After all, shouldn’t everyone be able to attend or not attend a march without being judged? The people who are marching in Pride parades have battled all their lives in some cases to not be judged but it seems now they are the ones doing the judging. You’d better show up at our parade or we’ll brand you as a homophobe. It’s the kind of bullying that they’re supposed to be marching against.
I have no idea what Brian Pallister’s thoughts are about sexuality and frankly I don’t care any more than I care about what anyone else does in their bedroom. But I do care that the people who claim to be on the side of tolerance and kindness are prepared to vilify anyone who doesn’t show up and march on their behalf.