What to Look Forward to at Toronto's First-Ever Pride Month
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What to Look Forward to at Toronto’s First-Ever Pride Month

Pride Toronto unveils jam-packed June schedule to celebrate LGBTQ life in the city.

Photo by eddiejdf from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Photo by eddiejdf from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Pride in Toronto this year is chock full of firsts.

For the first time in its history—since its humble beginning as a tiny gathering at Hanlan’s Point—the celebration will take place over the course of June leading up to the Pride Parade on July 3, marking the city’s inaugural Pride Month. It’s also the first year that our prime minister, premier, and mayor will all attend the festivities.

And there’s even more to look forward to. Pride Toronto unveiled the festival’s lineup today, featuring 32 days worth of reflection, celebration, and LGBTQ awareness.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your Pride month.

Photo courtesy Giphy.

Photo courtesy Giphy.

  • “You can sit with us.” This year’s theme is a cheeky take on the ubiquitous Mean Girls quote, encouraging inclusivity and togetherness. And just to drive the point home, Pride Toronto is hosting a free screening of Mean Girls at the Harbourfront Centre in conjunction with the organization’s summer of Free Flicks.
  • Back to its roots. On June 5, Pride heads back to the Toronto Island to celebrate its political beginnings. Centre Island Pride Day offers an opportunity to reflect on the first LGBTQ gatherings at Hanlan’s Point, before Pride took over the streets of Toronto. Pride Toronto will also be hosting five human rights panels throughout the month—perhaps an effort to return to the organization’s political roots. (Full disclosure: Torontoist is the proud media sponsor of the trans* rights panel on June 14.)
  • The Bathhouse Raids. It has been 31 years since the Bathhouse Raids that criminalized the LGBTQ community. Since then, relations between the community and Toronto police have improved, though gross indecency legislation is still entrenched in our current law. Pride is hosting a human rights panel to reflect on these injustices and how they have shaped the queer community today.
  • A family affair. For all of the naysayers who claim Pride is not for kids, Pride has plenty of family-friendly events planned, including a PFLAG Gay Day at Wonderland on June 18 and a TIFF Family short screening the following day.
  • Black Lives Matter. The group has made headlines throughout the year for its protest of Toronto’s police force. For its efforts to shed light on racial injustice, Black Lives Matter will be leading this year’s Pride Parade. The intersection of race and the LGBTQ community will also be featured during a human rights panel on June 29.
  • The rituals. As always, this year’s celebration includes the expected annual events. The AIDS candlelight vigil, which memorializes those in the community lost to the illness, will take place once again at Barbara Hall Park on June 28. A street fair will take over Church Street on July 1, followed by the annual Trans March on the same day, the Dyke March on July 2, and concluding with the Pride Parade down Yonge Street on July 3.

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