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How one gay politician responded to the Orlando shooting

‘I want to introduce you to someone’

Kristyn Wong-Tam introduced her fiancée Farrah Khan during the Toronto vigil for Orlando victims on June 12, 2016. Credit: Nick Lachance/Daily Xtra

After the mass murder at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, an openly gay Toronto city councillor made a simple gesture in defiance of both homophobes and Islamophobes.

“I want to introduce you to someone,” Kristyn Wong-Tam told the hundreds of people who had gathered at Barbara Hall Park for a vigil.

“This is Farrah Khan. Farrah is my queer Muslim fiancée,” she said, bringing her on stage.

(Nick Lachance/Daily Xtra)

This was the first time that Wong-Tam had publicly spoken about her engagement.

Khan is the sexual violence education and support coordinator at Ryerson University.

“When people hate queers, they hate us. When people hate Muslims, they hate us,” she said.

(Nick Lachance/Daily Xtra)

Wong-Tam, the councillor for Toronto’s Ward 27, which includes the Church-Wellesley Village, is the only openly gay member of Toronto’s city council. She’s often the leading voice for LGBT issues in city politics.

“My heart is so heavy,” said Wong-Tam, with tears welling up in her eyes. “We have lost so many people through the years, to hatred, to homophobia, to transphobia."

But she urged the crowd to never give in to apathy.

“We can never be by-standers. When we see something, we will speak up, we will take action,” she said. “We will never ever be silent or silenced.”