Vancouver News | Local Breaking | CTV News Vancouver
Ban Vancouver's 'vulgar' pride parade: professor
Published Friday, July 29, 2011 11:38AM PDT
Days before Vancouver's annual pride parade, a Kwantlen Polytechnic University professor has stirred controversy by calling the event "vulgar" and suggesting it should be banned.
It began with a pair of messages Shinder Purewal posted to his Twitter account Thursday, which criticized the "obscene sexuality at display in the parade."
Purewal clarified his comments for CTV News on Friday, saying he has been a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage and that his objection to the parade has nothing to do with gay rights.
"Everyone who does not like sexual display in downtown is not a hatemonger," Purewal said in an email statement. "I have raised a reasonable question about one aspect of the parade. In a civilized society, let's debate as civilized people."
Vancouver Pride Society president Ken Coolen admits there are sexual aspects of the parade, but said calling for the popular annual celebration to be banned and labeling it as vulgar crosses a line.
"The comments do come across as being homophobic," Coolen said. "If I was a student in one of his classes and I was struggling with my sexuality I would not feel comfortable being taught by him."
Coolen acknowleged that the parade has "risqué" aspects, but said it's nothing you wouldn't see on television.
"Pride is an opportunity for people to be proud of their authentic self," Coolen said, adding that "in the past, even being gay or lesbian was considered vulgar. It's all very subjective."
Purewal says he is no stranger to discrimination, having immigrated to Canada in 1979 to face what he calls "open racism in school and on streets." He added that he has openly argued in favour of gay marriage on radio and television.
The pride parade begins Sunday at noon in downtown Vancouver.
Have your say: Do you mind the sexual aspects of Vancouver's pride parade?