Pride Toronto is a time to Celebrate Who We Are, Where We’ve Been and Where We Are GoingBusiness in Toronto / Ontario, CSR, CSR Business, CSR Canada, News, Toronto News | Desi Cabrera | June 29, 2012 at 12:01 am
As a Torontonian, I am proud to be living in a city full of diversity and multiculturalism. As a gay man, I am equally as proud of the annual celebration that our city hosts to celebrate the LGBT community, our diverse sexual and gender identities, our freedom of expression and the ability to be ourselves. Toronto Pride, a nonprofit organization which organizes and hosts this grand event in the last week of June each year, has selected “Celebrate & Demonstrate” as this year’s theme. It is estimated that 1.2 million people will be in Toronto to witness one of the world’s largest pride celebrations. With many events and parties scheduled throughout the ten day festival, one may easily overlook Pride’s main mission, which is: “to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, 2 Spirited, Allies) communities.”
Pride means different things to different people. We asked some of our managers what it meant to them last year. I celebrate because it reminds me of my life journey, the strength of the relationships I have made and to be proud of the man I have become. Although no two journeys are the same, Pride’s mission is to celebrate each persons individuality and acceptance of oneself.
Although emotionally and mentally difficult, accepting oneself and coming out to friends and family is a challenging process that every LGBT person goes through at some point in their lives. I have been out for 18 years and I consider myself to be one of the fortunate few that have not been faced with outward hate, discrimination or marginalization in any area of my life because of my sexuality. My friends and family have been supportive from the moment I came out and I work for Miratel which is a company that values diversity, accepts me for me and evaluates me based on my contributions and work ethic.
Sadly, I am aware that this is not the case for many in the LGBT community and why Pride celebrations are very important. Although Pride is celebrated in many different parts of the world, they share three common objectives:
- Celebrate Who We Are. LGBTTIQQ2SA is inclusive of everyone and as such Pride celebrates our uniqueness and individuality regardless of race, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Celebrating who we are helps show the world that although we all have our differences we are all the same and ultimately Pride celebrations help break down existing barriers and educate current and future generations.
- Celebrate Where We’ve Been. Toronto Pride was born out of a mass protest in response to the legendary 1981 ‘bathhouse raids’ and a lot has changed since then. In our short 32 year history, many leaders and LGBT human rights activists have put in a lot of hard work, dedication and support for the community’s cause that has led to significant political changes, including legalizing same-sex marriages or recognizing of same-sex common-law partnerships. A shift in social attitudes and acceptance has also occurred over the years, with many celebrities coming out publicly and becoming role models like Ellen DeGeneres, Ricky Martin, Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch, Chely Wright and Melissa Etheridge to name a few. We have come a long way in such a short period of time to achieve a level of equality and freedom to be who we are never seen before.
- Celebrate Where We Are Going. Despite the progress that we have made, we still have ways to go. Bullying, which only recently came to the forefront as a social problem or epidemic in our school systems, highlights that significant time and attention should be focused on educating our youth on tolerance and acceptance. Politically, there are still regions in the western hemisphere which need to make advancements in their laws and policies to ensure equality is applied at all levels regardless of how a person identifies themselves. There is still a long road ahead before reaching our destination, but we are fortunate that many before us have paved the way and with increased numbers of support our cause will only strengthen.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to be part of the celebration, this weekend is your chance. Pride Toronto is hosting various events and parades that cater to all tastes of music, food and culture from family friendly to adult only activities. Be part of the celebration and demonstrate that you are proud to be you. Checking out the Pride Guide will help that along.
Happy Pride Toronto!
Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centre, eBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraising, online fundraising, lottery services, donation caging, donation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.