LGBT activists in Toronto are angry at an apparent snub by Mayor Rob Ford, who declined an invitation to attend the city's Gay Pride on July 3.
Ford says he will be on vacation at a cottage in Huntsville, Ontario, that weekend, an annual family tradition he didn't miss even during his 2010 electoral campaign.
Critics, however, say the mayor's absence from Gay Pride is more about the small-c conservative's own hostility towards gays.
"We thought someone would have reminded Mayor Ford that despite his own personal or religious views, despite his unease around gay people, despite his natural or cultivated antipathy towards such Torontonians, he had to do the mayor thing," wrote Royson James in the Toronto Star.
Twitter users reacted with fury to the snub. Toronto tweeter @mikeyerxa wrote that he didn't care whether the mayor was at Gay Pride, but he did care that Ford "continually turns his back on a community that keeps extending their hand."
User @bingham_humber questioned whether it was just a case of "good ol' down-home traditional florrid-faced homophobia."
It seems the Ford family may have taken the criticism to heart. The mayor's brother, Doug Ford, also his Chief Adviser, said that over 20 people would be at the Hunstville cottage for Canada Day, but "if I can make it back, and we'll see if we can bring Rob."
He denied homophobia was behind the decision. "He doesn't give two hoots if you are straight, gay, whatever," Doug Ford said.
If Rob Ford doesn't make the 2011 Gay Pride, he'll be the first mayor in Toronto's history to miss it.
Photo: essygie (Flickr)