Toronto kicked off its first-ever Pride Month on Tuesday with a flag-raising ceremony at city hall.
The ceremony marked the start of the longest Pride event in Toronto’s history. What started as a day, and eventually became Pride Week, now will take place over the entire month of June. The event is capped off each year by the Pride parade.
Councillor Kristin Wong-Tam started the event by talking about the historic struggles Toronto's LGBT community has faced.
“It hasn’t always been fine. There have been moments in time in the history of the LGBT movement where we’ve had to fight harder to ... get the recognition we deserve,” Wong-Tam said.
Mayor John Tory, who made the proclamation that officially started Pride Month, talked about how far the city had come from the 1981 Toronto bathhouse raids, which sparked protests and eventually became the catalyst for Pride events in the City.
“If you look back to the roots 35 years ago, it took the form of a protest ... and here we are, 35 years later, when a protest has become a parade,” Tory said.
Tory also announced the trans flag would be raised for the first time, as he talked about the ongoing struggles members of the trans community still face. Tory also mentioned Black Lives Matter, a group he said he's “had differences with in the past,” but which would be participating alongside Tory in Pride month, which Tory said he was happy about.
“We’ll all be together to ... remind ourselves as well how much work we have left to be done,” he said.
Nearby at Queen's Park, Premier Kathleen Wynne had announced earlier that day a bill that would give LGBT parents equal rights, and eliminate the need for them to adopt children from their biological parents.
Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois said Pride has grown beyond its traditional week. The diverse members of the community each deserve their day during Pride, he said.
“We will talk about blackness and queerness and politics,” he said.
Chantelois also stressed the problems members of the LGBT community, especially trans members, face. He told his trans friends in the audience he would continue fighting for them. This year, the flag-raising also included a trans flag being raise simultaneously on Queen St.
“The fight is not over. We have a lot of work to do and we will do it together,” he said.