A local professor and former federal Liberal candidate says a remark he made on Twitter calling the Vancouver Gay Pride Parade “vulgar” should not be taken as a homophobic remark.
Shinder Purewal told The Leader Thursday his online post regarding his feelings on the parade pertained to any openly sexual displays, whether homosexual or heterosexual.
“Even if it’s a woman and a man displaying that kind of sexuality in a parade, that’s not something we display on the streets,” Purewal said.
He was discussing the gay pride parade with a friend, who asked him whether he would attend the event. Purewal said he wouldn’t.
He posted on Twitter that “Vancouver’s so-called ‘Pride Parade’ should be banned. It’s vulgar…to say the least.”
He said in a telephone interview it was meant as a broad statement about public sexual conduct.
“It’s simply my concern that it’s a vulgar display of sexuality,” Purewal said. “As a family member, would I be able to take my parents, my kids? No.”
He maintained his comments should not be construed as homophobic.
“My choice is I wouldn’t want to be there, that doesn’t make somebody homophobic,” Purewal said. “We have a lot of parades, but they don’t have vulgar sexuality on display.”
He declined to be specific about exactly what it is in the parade that he finds so offensive.
“You see the pictures, you see the videos and you see there is a lot of sexuality on display in the most vulgar form you can imagine,” Purewal said. “Everything, a lot of stuff goes on.”
Still, negative response to his comment was swift, with one former student posting “Im ashamed 2 have taken ur class!”
Purewal is a political science instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. A tweet from Kwantlen Thursday afternoon stated Purewal’s statement “does not represent that of Kwantlen. Educate, Celebrate, Liberate” and included a link to the university’s Positive Space webpage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students.
Joanne Saunders, Kwantlen’s director of marketing and communications, told The Leader Purewal was in discussion with the Dean over the matter.
She stressed the opinions tweeted by Purewal were his alone. She also pointed out freedom of speech allows him to make such comments as long it’s not attributed to the university.
She’s heard Purewal’s explanation, but notes, that’s not the way his tweet was initially taken.
“Unfortunately, it came out a different way,” Saunders said. “And I think anyone reading it, would read it the way we all read it.”