Guest Blog: Don’t Rain on My Parade

To celebrate the US Supreme Court’s rejection of the Defense Against Marriage Act, to honour Your Working Girl’s friends and relations of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered persuasion, and to mark the occasion of Pride celebrations in Toronto this week, she has invited her dear friend and artist, Israel Vazquez, to be her first ever guest blogger.

Life has been tough on Israel this past year.  He was a long-time waiter and shop steward at the storied Sutton Place Hotel, which was closed last spring to be turned into condos.   In the summer, he returned to his birthplace in Mexico to spend last days with his beloved mother who passed away in December.  

“I lived every day thinking of the little things I could do to bring a bit of happiness to her life,” he told Your Working Girl in his grief, “and now she’s gone.” 

In a cruel twist from a land that’s showing its citizens no mercy right now, his brother-in-law was assaulted and murdered.  And in one of what’s become commonplace kidnappings-for-cash in Mexico, a close relative was abducted. 

That he should have a heartfelt and articulate opinion about anything shows a triumph of the human spirit, in particular his human spirit. Gentle Readers, please give it up for Your Working Girl’s dear friend Israel Vazquez and his editorial, Please don’t rain on my parade. 

 

PLEASE DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE

(HIJACKING PRIDE)

I have heard and read about the controversy about Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) marching at PRIDE parade.  Just to remind everyone PRIDE is a celebration of all the different sexual identities existing in our society.

I am a person that is not against Palestinians deciding a future and a nation of their own. I believe that each individual should be free and has the right to decide his/her own future. I also believe that each act of grievance has its own time and place to be tabled and discussed.

Although, PRIDE is a parade that advocates for the rights of people, Palestine and most Muslim oriented countries do not respect the rights of gay, lesbians and all other diversities that forms our community, and in some cases these minorities are criminalized and punished by jail or death in their nations or territories.

So with that in mind, and in the very day we are celebrating the achievements made by the LGBT community in this Canadian society that understands and accept us for what we really are, I ask “how do you want me to support a cause where the society and the government that you are supporting strips people like us of our rights and deny our existence as human beings?”

I’ve seen young girls marching with the “QuAIA” float in the parade dressed in very tiny shorts, wearing tank tops and carrying a Palestinian flag, and guys holding hands and kissing each other with true love. In Toronto this is an accepted behaviour.   The society that “QuAIA” is asking to endorse, however, secludes them, ostracizes them, dresses the females “modestly” with hijabs and all other female paraphernalia and segregates the women from the men they are now freely mingling with.

I wish with all my heart that all Queers and all Palestinians of different sexuality could parade freely in the streets of Gaza and Ramallah like we do here in Canada.  I want to make very clear that this is neither Islamophobia nor Semitic (Zionist) propaganda.

If “QuAIA” were parading to promote the rights of those LGBT people that are oppressed by the society that “QuAIA” is advocating, I would gladly parade with their float. But please don’t ask me to support societies that suppress an important part of my identity as a human being. Supporting the Palestinian State as is, is turning a blind eye to the violations they perpetrate against the people and the achievements we are celebrating on this very day. These kinds of achievements have become core to the advancement and respect of the LGBT community.

I understand that fighting oppression should be a priority in any civilized society, but supporting this cause makes me feel like the mouse that bites the dog that chases the cat that ends up eating the same mouse that bit the dog.

In this world where oppression is rampant I agree that it is important not to stay silent. And in the same way we understand and sympathize with the suffering of Palestinians, there are other groups that are still suffering in the same manner, for instance people from Tibet, Chechnya, and Syria. Denouncing all of their abusers should be a priority. So creating a day and a parade that will advocate for the rights of those people that are being oppressed, stripped of their National pride and threatened in their well being could become a platform to expose the perpetrators and help the innocent people that endure such terrible life conditions.

Meanwhile let’s call PRIDE for what PRIDE really stands:  A PROUD AND SHAMELESS CELEBRATION OF THE SEXUAL DIVERSITY THAT HAS BEEN OPRESSED BY MAINSTREAM SOCIETY AROUND THE WORLD AND NOW IS GAINING AND ACHIEVING THE RIGHTS THAT WE AS HUMAN BEINGS DESERVE.

So please, I ask respectfully, don’t rain on my parade.

 

Refugio I Vazquez   June 26 2013

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Comments

  1. Acciaio says:

    I have read twice the article by Refugio Vazquez, the second one with a view to finding some fault in it, but neither in the style nor the content I could wish for any
    improvement.

    Acciaio

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