2014 Year in Review: World Pride Toronto!
By Peewara Sapsuwan
In 2014 Toronto hosted the third World Pride. Toronto was a natural choice to follow up on the World Pride events previously held in Rome and Jerusalem; Toronto’s annual Pride festival attacts more than 1.2 million visitors. The 10-day World Pride event was a celebration of diversity and acceptance attracted more than 350 groups, including 12,500 marchers and 400 delegates from all over the globe (source.) Political figures, including Ontario’s first openly gay premier Kathleen Wynne participated in the march.
Global LGBTQ rights took Toronto’s World Pride’s center stage, with the World Pride Human Rights Conference taking place along side the World Pride event. Some topics included two-spirited persons, asexuality, intersex persons and parents, LGBTQ refugees in Canada, and LGBTQ rights in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Uganda.
It is important to appreciate how far LGBTQ rights in Canada have come since the days when homosexuality was a capital crime. However, it is equally important to remember that the law has not always been accepting towards Canada’s LGBTQ’s communities. It was only in 1969 when homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69. Canada’s last person who was convicted for homosexuality (under gross indecency), George Klippert, was released only in 1971.
World Pride also reminded Canadians that although many LGBTQ rights are well protected in Canada, many gender and sexual identities around the world are still struggling to be recognized, and many individuals are still violently persecuted for who they are. For this reason, World Pride 2014 was an expression of Canada’s value and its solidarity with the LGBTQ communities around the world.