Feeling nutty and proud of it? David Miller has proclaimed July 14 as Mad Pride Day in Toronto, which aims to recognize and empower a much marginalized group: those who have experienced oppression at the hands of the psychiatric system (psychiatric survivors and consumers) and those who generally have been stigmatized by their mental health issues. In the same way that the gay community has reclaimed the word “queer,” psychiatric survivors and consumers have empowered themselves by reclaiming the word “mad.” Consider it a celebration of the right to be different. We’ll be joining many other cities across the world in this international day to recognize mad people, such as Melbourne, Vancouver, Brussels, London, Chicago, Buffalo and interestingly, Accra (Ghana).
Appropriately enough, the celebrations take place in two communities which themselves have been maligned by the stigma attached to those with mental health issues: Queen/Ossington, and Parkdale. Although the 1 p.m. talks at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) by lefties City Councillor Gord Perks, M.P.P.Cheri Di Novo and M.P. Peggy Nash will no doubt be of interest, the “Mad Pride Bed Push” will definitely be the main event. Inspired by similar events which have taken place at previous Mad Pride celebrations in Britain, 1:30 p.m. will find pajama-clad participants wheeling a hospital bed (complete with at least one patient) from CAMH to the Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre (PARC) to symbolize escaping from oppressive psychiatric institutions to a safe and celebratory space. Accordingly, once the marchers reach PARC there will be food and live entertainment on hand.
Photo by sissyboystud.