Mayor John Tory officially proclaimed June as pride month as he raised the rainbow and transgender flags at City Hall on Tuesday.
“Just by gathering here today and raising these flags, we are sending a message to anyone who needs to know that they are safe here in Toronto. They are supported here in Toronto and embraced here in Toronto,” said Tory at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
He said it’s the goal of many to set an international standard for inclusivity and that he recognizes that there are still far too many people experiencing discrimination and hate in Toronto.
“That is one of the many reasons why proclaiming a Pride month and this flag raising is necessary,” said Tory.
“They’re necessary events to have in our city each year as a statement to who we are, but also a symbol of our commitment to do more, make more progress and to address important issues that remain outstanding.”
Pride Toronto festivities run until June 23 and will showcase the history, courage and diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, questioning and two-spirit communities (LGBTQ2). The Pride parade will take place on June 23.
During Tuesday’s event, Tory was asked about Premier Doug Ford’s decision not to attend the parade. He said everyone has to make their own decisions, but that he chooses to participate in the parade every year.
“This is not a time for backsliding. It’s a time to continue to move forward, to continue to make more progress, and to continue to address these issues as challenging as some of them may be,” he said.
Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ford, said he will go to the city’s Pride parade “when our front-line police officers are allowed to participate in uniform.” She added that Ford “wishes all the organizers of Pride Toronto all the best for a successful month and festival weekend.”
— With files from Travis Dhanraj