World Pride Begins in Toronto
By: Joe Stabb
The LGBT community has traveled from around the world to be in Toronto for the 10 day World Pride celebration. Over 2 million people are expected during this time frame to enjoy pride related programming all around Toronto.
“World Pride has been built on the work of generations of activists in Toronto and around the world, and in part on historic new partnerships with cultural organizations across the city,” states Kevin Beaulieu, Executive Director at Pride Toronto. “In addition to the parade, marches, and street festival, I hope you will take time to visit the special World Pride partner programming at theatres, galleries, museums, and festivals.”
There is a full agenda of happenings around Toronto including musical guests Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, and Steve Grand, LGBT-themed theatre productions at various venues, an art exhibit commemorating the 45th Anniversary of Stonewall, the Human Rights Conference, a grand pride wedding featuring over 100 couples, and various parades and marches. You can view a complete schedule of events online at http://worldpridetoronto.com/#festival-calendar.
“Pride is truly the face of our movement and our fight for equality is not just measured in victories in the courthouse or in a legislature, but by changing people’s hearts and minds,” says Gary Van Horn, Co-President of InterPride. “We remember the struggles that those have had before us as we move forward to a world where there is full cultural, social and legal equality for all.”
Horn goes on to state that there are 81 countries in the world that it is still a crime to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and 10 countries where the crime is punishable by death.
Toronto is the first city in North America to host World Pride.
“The City of Toronto has been getting ready to roll out a spectacular welcome to the global LGBTQ2S community and we are excited that our commitment to creating an inclusive, welcoming city will be featured in the international spotlight,” says Kristyn Wong-Tam, Toronto City Councillor Ward 27.
For more information on World Pride Toronto, visit http://worldpridetoronto.com/.