My Speech to Nominate My Dad for Pride Grand Marshal

Personal Bits, Queer stuff, Toronto

At the Pride Grand Marshal vote tonight, the 519 was a cross section of our community. LGBTTIQ2S ($5 to anyone who names all the communities without Googling it) filled the auditorium. Much formailty ensued and motions were put forth.

I looked around the room to see my father’s sister with her boyfriend. My Dad’s good friend Yvan and friend had come. The “Edward Healey” camp was a bit thin.

We were informed that our time was cut short and we had 3 minutes to speak. I was called and approached the stage. I placed a photo of Dad up on the podium and let ‘er rip. Here is my speech, in it’s entirety, with the on-the-fly editing I had to do:

Honoured Pride Board, Nominees, Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Ted Healey and I am here to nominate my father, Edward Healey, for Grand Marshal for Toronto Pride 2007.

My father can’t be here tonight because he is currently spending winter in Buenos Aries, and is draining my inheritance. I have an email from him confirming his acceptance to be nominated.

Who is Edward Healey and why vote for my father? First and foremost, it’s his 75th birthday this year and I have no idea what to get him. I figured a nice ride down Yonge street would be fun.

Seriously, Edward Healey is the perfect model towards which all gay persons should aspire and therefore the ideal person to be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Parade. He is a good parent, patient and understanding, and has proven through his volunteerism, leadership and availability to the community, that he does not suffer endless indecision and inaction. His commitment to honesty is a shining light for all who are hiding from themselves. To those who are living in fear, his life embodies the saying “The Truth shall set you free”

Edward was born in Lindsay, Ontario, 1932. Dad came of age in a conservative world that had assigned a very abject place to gay men, something he was aware of and fearful of, and that was one of the reasons that led him to get married. However, I believe that he and mother were genuinely happy together because all you have to do is look at the family photos, and there are five children to prove it.

I’d like to quickly mention my siblings because my father raised some great people:

My oldest brother, Dan, is a professor of Soviet Era Gay History at Swansea University, in the United Kingdom. In his youth, Dan’s activism paved the way for the privileges we take for granted today. He was ordained as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and was one of the many angry voices during protest of the Bathhouse raids while he studied at UofT. Dan is happily married to his husband, Mark, a year and a half now.

My oldest sister Michele is a Supervisor for the Anesthesiology department at the Calgary General Hospital. She tells me that in her life, she has learned from Dad never to be afraid of change.

My middle brother, John has taken up sales like my father did at his age and is regional sales manager for a high end line of electronics.

The brother just older than me, Michael, is the recipient of the Governor General Literary Award in 1999 for his play, The Drawer Boy. He is currently writer in residence at the Tarragon Theatre.

And me? I’m here, with my husband, to nominate my dad. I owe him so much and it’s the least I can do for him. He’s my best friend, my confidant, and role model.

At this point I was told I had 30 seconds to finish up. I skipped this paragraph, noting that Dad’s accomplishments were listed in the flyer handed out to the group within his bio blurb.

In the early 80s when my father came out, he entered into the Toronto Area Gays Coming Out Support Group, utilizing the first of many community services that were open to him at the time. From there, he flourished to an active member within the LGBT community. He has volunteered for ACT, stood by me in the rain as we hauled hors d’oeuvres into Moss Park for Fashion Cares and is currently an active volunteer and parishioner for MCCT. Edward has actively volunteered his time to the over-40s social group, Prime Timers Toronto for some time now. In fact, he has been president of Prime Timers “two and a half time”? (he tells me) and I am told that his peers have nominated him this year, to sit on the World Board of Prime Timers.

This is where I jumped to:

The beauty of dad’s ‘gay values’ lies in the fact that he never forgot to be a father first. In fact, perhaps discovering he had two gay sons helped him to be a better father. Dad’s commitment to his family and to our community has been strong and effective. He has been Unstoppable! Dad upholds the tenets of Pride and without a doubt should be recognized for his accomplishments.

In conclusion I ask that you consider whom, you should put at the front of the Pride Parade. Whether you choose “Person” or “Persona”, I ask that you choose honestly and with pride. Please vote for my father, Edward Healey.

We find out in a weeks time by press release on Pride Toronto’s site.

I would like to thank Yvan C for helping me slap this together with a week and a half  notice. And special thanks to Sharkboy for his support. He’s been great.

Good Luck Da!

5 thoughts on “My Speech to Nominate My Dad for Pride Grand Marshal

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  3. Simon

    Wow! What a great story. Your dad sounds like a really great man.I’m sorry I didn’t read this sooner…I would have voted for him. 🙂

  4. Busdriver

    I am sooooo sorry that I forgot about last night. I came home, lied down and fell asleep. That’s what I get having to get up at 3:30am .

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