Thursday, October 07, 2004

Toronto Police Chief Lauded By Gay Magazine

Oct. 7, 2004. 08:18 AM
Chief Fantino is fab-ulous
Appears on cover of gay magazine
Editor predicts in-demand issue
BETSY POWELL
CRIME REPORTER

"Macho man" Julian Fantino has set a "new tone in police relations with
the gay community," declares the editor-in-chief of fab in the magazine's
current issue — featuring a cover story and photo of Toronto's top cop
surrounded by models portraying gay icons The Village People.

The free "gay scene" magazine — and police brass — kept the chief's
appearance a secret until the issue hit the stands yesterday. The magazine
issued a news release proclaiming fab's coup in landing "Macho Man Julian
Fantino" for its cover story.

"It will be gone very quickly, I'm sure," said Mitchel Raphael, fab's
editor-in-chief, who interviewed Fantino and wrote the story. "Everyone at
police headquarters wants a copy, according to the gay and lesbian liaison
officer there. I think a lot of police cruisers will be pulling up to the
fab boxes over the next couple of days."

The 62-year-old chief was not air-brushed into the cover shot, as some
have suggested, Raphael said. "That's him. We touched up the face a little
bit, sparkled a few things. We just gave him the standard fab treatment
that every model goes through."

On the serious side of things, the magazine notes that Fantino has been a
controversial figure in the gay community stemming from such incidents as
bathhouse raids. When he was appointed chief, he was supposed to be "Gay
Public Enemy number one," the article says.

In 1994, gay activists in London, Ont., accused Fantino, who was then that
city's police chief, of turning a child-porn investigation into a witch
hunt against gay men. Fantino responds that there has been
"misinformation" about his role, but acknowledges he should have
"communicated, sought out and done a little bit more proactive work with
the gay community in London before all of this."

The article quotes Councillor Kyle Rae as saying Fantino did not "live up
to our expectations of being a chief that was going to drag us back into
the closet."

While Fantino sidestepped several pointed questions, including one about
gay marriage ("I don't know why you need to get married"), the article
notes he is "passionate" about protecting gays ("it's a hate crime") and
has attended a gay church.

Fantino could not be reached for comment, but police spokesperson Mark
Pugash said "one of the hallmarks of the chief's tenure has been to reach
out to all diverse communities in the city."

Fantino follows earlier fab cover subjects such as Mayor David Miller and
NDP Leader Jack Layton. The online version will include "bonus pictures,"
the news release said.