For the second day in a row, Mayor Rob Ford has gone out of his way at city council to offend the LGBTQ community.
At City Hall Wednesday, Ford refused to stand during an ovation honouring the organizers of the WorldPride festival. Thursday, he was the lone vote against looking into creating a new homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth.
Ford held the staff report on LGBTQ homeless at the start of council's meeting Tuesday, single-handedly delaying its approval. He released the item Thursday without speaking to it, and it passed easily by a count of 37 to 1. Ford didn't say why he held the item or why he was opposed to the motion.
In recent months the mayor has engaged in an escalating series of anti-gay behaviours, including being recorded making drunken, homophobic remarks in April, yet he continues to insist he's not homophobic.
Confronted Wednesday about his refusal to stand to applaud WorldPride, the mayor told reporters: "You guys have asked me this question for 14 years, and you know the answer. I'm not homophobic."
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam doesn't buy it.
"The mayor is homophobic," she said Thursday. "In the private sector, if there was anyone that behaved in such an obvious way and exhibited such discriminatory behaviour, I think that they would be reprimanded."
LGBTQ people are overrepresented among homeless youth. According to the Street Needs Assessment, an unscientific survey of Toronto's homeless, 21 per cent of respondents in youth shelters identified as LGBTQ, compared to only nine per cent of all homeless respondents.
In the report approved by council, staff noted that LGBTQ youth face additional challenges that could lead to them ending up on the street, including rejection by their families or school communities.
The report directed that the city look into establishing its first LGBTQ youth shelter and setting aside 25 per cent of youth beds in existing facilities for LGBTQ clients. It also requests that anti-homophobia training be made mandatory for all shelter staff.