With Pride celebrations becoming an increasingly global trend, the LGBTTQQIA movement has taken on more of a focus on human rights (and in particular, trans rights) in recent years. Toronto's World Pride included a 3-day Human Rights Conference hosted at the University of Toronto.
Since our apartment in Mimico had been subletted for our year in Argentina, we decided to rent a place downtown right in the middle of the action for a few weeks; an aviation friend of ours from PEI joined us for a few days at the beginning, and in addition to some concerts and a ball game he already had on his agenda, we managed to drag him along to several Pride-related events...
The Flag Raising and Opening Ceremonies were held at City Hall last Friday evening. How amazing it was to be back in Toronto at a time when there is hope for a new Mayor (while Ford is in rehab, several strong candidates have come forward to run and replace him in office), and when an intelligent, talented, articulate woman (who also happens to be GAY!!!) has just been voted into provincial leadership!
On Sunday of Pride's opening weekend, Autostraddle organized a picnic, and we decided to join in the fun. Assuming allies would be welcome, we brought Brian along with some Alfajors and German Kartoffelsalat. Both the food and Brian were welcomed without question, but the latter turned out to be the only man there, lol!
One of my favourite places to visit in summer is the Toronto Islands. And what better way to celebrate Pride than with a visit to Hanlan's Point? Although we did not visit the "clothing optional" beach there, we did have a little picnic and do some geocaching before heading over to Centreville so the boys could spend time on their favourite rides, and then -- the few of us left by then, I mean -- on to Ward's where we had dinner at the Rectory Cafe before being caught in the rain and boarding a ferry back to the city.
I think my favourite photo below is the one of Brian holding down the fort while the boys are at Centreville, Adele and Rick are off getting a coffee, Vinx has already left to go see his mother, and Tats and I are just coming back from geocaching... all alone with the Pride flag sticking out of the picnic table, he looks like a sweet, lonely, elderly gay man, picnic all set up, waiting for some other nice gentleman to join him!!! :D What a good sport he's been!
Living downtown for the week meant we could easily walk or bike pretty much anywhere... we did lots of both, even through the ceaseless summer Toronto construction.
Once Brian headed back to PEI, the kids spent a few days with us. One memorable ride took us to a nearby gelato shop ("Lick It Gelato" on Queens Quay) -- yum! We also visited a large library with an amazing children's section...
Although I was doing some supply teaching during the day, Tats and I were able to attend one of the panel discussions, free of charge and open to the public, that formed part of the Human Rights conference. As we approach the venue, it was so nice to see the cheery rainbow flags adorning the facade of University College, adjacent the field from Convocation Hall!
We heard two speakers, Masha Gessen (a Russian-American journalist) and Tamara Adrian (a trans advocate from Venezuela). Both speakers shared the message of importance about making public the names of individual activists whose lives were in danger, not just in their own two countries, but in countries around the world, in order to increase pressure on governments who currently uphold homophobic policies. I reflected on a comment made by one of the speakers about choosing what to say (with regards to LGBTI rights) in different contexts, and how that choice is somewhat of a luxury for those of us living and working in countries like Canada, while those in some other countries couldn't or wouldn't speak up out of fear, sometimes fear for their very lives!
After the panel, a good friend (an "ally") took us out for dinner and conversation.
Street Fair and Dyke March
Finally, Pride Weekend arrived. After spending Saturday morning at the Wychwood Barns Farmers' Market with the kids, we headed over to the street fair and Family Pride. (Family Pride was sponsored by Home Depot this year, the corporate sponsorship resulting in a significantly larger event than in years past!!)
While the boys spent the afternoon with Brenna, Tats and I stayed at Pride to enjoy the Dyke March, a woman-focused, more political version of the Pride Parade (the latter will happen Sunday afternoon, and will be blogged in "Part Two" of this post).