What’s that, you ask? OK here goes. LGBTTIQQ2SA = “LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, TRANSEXUAL, INTERESTED, QUEER, QUESTIONING, TWO-SPIRITED and ALLIES.” (Hopefully, that includes all of us.)
The 30th ANNUAL GAY PRIDE CELEBRATION kicks off in Toronto on June 25th for a ten-day celebration of the cultural diversity of the LBGT community of the GTA.
Toronto has come a long way in the past three decades – mostly because we had a long way to go. This city has always prided itself on it’s tolerance and cultural diversity. But sometimes mere tolerance is simply not enough.
About three decades ago (in a far less enlightened city) the 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids resulted in the mass arrest of more than 300 individuals. The subsequent protest march evolved into Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade which caps off “Pride Week” activities.
On the 25th Anniversary of that protest (the 2005 parade) newly appointed Toronto police chief Bill Blair became the first Chief of Police in the city’s history to participate in the parade. He marched alongside politicians of all parties, including several Federal and Provincial Cabinet Ministers and Mayor David Miller. The city had matured from mere tolerance to being actively supportive.
We’ve come a long way in the past three decades and as a consequence, Toronto won the bid to host the 2014 WorldPride Celebration.
Toronto now has the largest Pride celebration in North America. It was estimated that more than a million people participated in the 2009 Toronto Pride Week activities. WorldPride 2014 here in Toronto should dwarf that number.
We still have a long way to go. And as the acronym LGBTTIQQ2SA suggests, we will only truly progress if all go together.