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Non-Jewish gay man files complaint against Pride Toronto

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Non-Jewish gay man files complaint against Pride Toronto

by Joanne Hill, Jewishtribune.ca, Dec. 17, 2013

A non-Jewish member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community has filed a human rights complaint against Pride Toronto for allowing Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) into its events.

Barry Dennison, a freelance journalist and former corrections officer, said he filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal at the beginning of November and immediately provided copies to Pride Toronto board members. (Dennison has provided a copy of his complaint to the Jewish Tribune.)

According to Dennison, the Ontario tribunal has told him it will serve Pride Toronto with his complaint as soon as he submits an additional request to have the file fast-tracked.

Dennison has asked the Ontario tribunal to compel Pride Toronto to ban QuAIA’s messaging from its events. He claims the anti-Zionist group’s participation prevents him from being able to join Pride Toronto and he considers this a breach of his human rights.

He has also asked the tribunal to determine whether QuAIA’s accusations against Israel meet the legal definition of racism.

Dennison told the Tribune he has been a human rights advocate for many years and he thinks QuAIA’s claims about Israel are offensive and untrue. While in the audience at the Pride parade, he has made a point of turning his back when QuAIA marched past.

“Calling Israel an apartheid [state] is not accurate. It is, in my mind, demeaning to that country and everybody who is related to it, whether by religion or nationality…. I think why I chose this specific route was because the City Hall’s ethics commissioner said [QuAIA’s messaging] didn’t breach [City of Toronto] policies but [they] didn’t have an opinion from the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Well, okay, that’s where I picked it up.”

Pride Toronto Executive Director Kevin Beaulieu told the Tribune in an email, “Pride Toronto is aware of the complaint and takes this matter very seriously. It has retained legal counsel to advise and represent the organization, and is reviewing the complaint and its options at the tribunal.”

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