Mayor confirms participation in London’s Pride parade

Pride London Festival will run for 11 days, culminating in the parade on July 28.
Pride London Festival will run for 11 days, culminating in the parade on July 28. Jaclyn Carbone/980 CFPL

More than a month after Ontario’s premier announced he would not take part in Toronto’s Pride parade, London Mayor Ed Holder has confirmed to Global News Radio 980 CFPL that he will walk in London’s parade.

Premier Doug Ford cited the exclusion of uniformed police officers in Toronto’s parade as his reason not to attend, marking the first time since 2013 that the sitting premier would not be walking in Toronto’s parade.

READ MORE: Premier Doug Ford will not attend Toronto Pride parade due to exclusion of police participation

Pride London Festival also barred police from participating in uniform in its parade starting last year, with festival president Andrew Rosser saying police participation in the event is an ongoing conversation.

“I don’t think that’s a perfect solution for everyone. I’m sure there’s still people that would like to see them walk in uniform, and there’s people that would like them not to participate at all,” he explained.

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“But this is the solution we’ve come up with, and right now, it’s what’s working for our communities, and we’re going to continue the conversation.”

Holder, who walked in the 2018 parade as a mayoral candidate, told Global News Radio 980 CFPL he’s happy to do it again now that he’s in office.

“I think that makes an important statement that the mayor supports inclusiveness but also equity for all, and we’ve got a strong policy towards diversity and strong workforce support for those in the LGBTQ2 community,” Holder said.

READ MORE: OPP investigating Lambton media officer after derogatory Facebook comment

This year, Holder will be joined by more than 100 representatives from the City of London.

“It’s huge. I think it’s the biggest we’ll have ever had and I think it just speaks to — it says a lot of things about who we are in London, and I’m proud of our city,” he added.

READ MORE: Peaceful LGBTQ2 rally to be held in front of Hamilton city hall in response to ‘hate groups’

Rosser says this year’s festival is especially timely for the LGBTQ2 community.

“[We’re] marking the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada, transgender being taken off the World Health Organization’s mental health disorders list — these are all really great milestones this year that we’re all celebrating, but we do have a lot of work to do,” he said.
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“That kind of Trump era of speaking hate has really fuelled these groups. We’re seeing neo-Nazis protesting in Detroit, we’re seeing these groups come across the border and are physically violent in Toronto and in Hamilton recently.”

Pride London Festival begins next Thursday and runs for 11 days, culminating in the parade on July 28.

—With files from Global News’ Travis Dhanraj and Gabby Rodrigues and Global News Radio 980 CFPL’s Andrew Graham