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politics

School Trustees Want Parade-Goers to Cover Up at Pride

They're hoping the City will enforce a ban on public nudity at the event.

Marchers carry a giant rainbow flag during the 2012 Toronto Pride Parade.

With lower test scores than school boards in the surrounding area, tension between trustees and staff that requires a police presence, and an annual cash crunch that forces tough budgetary decisions, you might expect that the Toronto District School Board would be focusing on its most pressing issues.

Enter Sam Sotiropoulos (Ward 20, Scarborough–Agincourt). The first-term trustee believes he has identified a critical issue the board needs to address, and two other trustees have signed on to support him. The critical issue? Public nudity at the annual Pride parade (in which the TDSB has a float). Forget that it’s only a few of the thousands of people in attendance who inflict the torment of public nudity on unsuspecting parade-goers. Forget that public nudity in a parade can be considered an act of protest, and that it has a specific history rooted in the Pride parade as a form of political action. Forget that the school board doesn’t have any real authority over the issue, except in that it can ask council to enforce Canada’s ban on public nudity, which is what today, these trustees will be asking the TDSB to do. And forget that Sotiropoulos’ past tweets suggest that he has never been to the Pride parade. What we need to remember is that public nudity is gross, and legislating morality is grand.

Sotiropoulos has made nudity at the Pride parade something of a pet issue recently, trying to pick a fight with councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) on the topic, and also sounding the alarm over “homosexism,” which is totally not a made-up thing he found on Urban Dictionary to support his argument that heterosexuals are being bullied. He also accidentally sent an email in December to his fellow trustees referring to their “malicious misery, ill-breeding, and sourpusses.” The teachers’ union has lodged a complaint over his tweets, causing him to lash out against them, too.

It’s tempting to dismiss this trustee as someone undeserving of the attention he seeks, but he might be around for a while—and with the recent announcement that Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough–Agincourt) will retire from council, Sotiropoulos’ local council seat is open, and there’s always the possibility that he might run.

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