Hundreds of marchers took over Yonge St June 25 for the Queers for Social Justice night march.
The route was not revealed until the march kicked off at 9pm, and by the end of the march, the crowd numbered approximately 400 people.
Queers for Social Justice is a new local group made up of a coalition of activist organizations, including Queer Ontario, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA), AIDS Action Now and the Trans Lobby Group.
Head marshal and Queer Ontario vice-chair Casey Oraa says the march had great energy and a celebratory feel. “Everyone had a great time and there was great political spirit,” he says.
The groups, who also staged a die-in at city hall before the flag-raising, recently came together in a statement of solidarity. Pride is more than a mega-party, Oraa notes. Pride has always been a political demonstration.
Taking its cue from Pride’s theme this year, Celebrate and Demonstrate, the aim of Queers for Social Justice is to put politics front and centre during Pride Week.
“The night march was about creating a space for people to be political and celebratory within Pride,” Oraa says.
Marchers, many wearing neon clothes and carrying glow sticks and bike lights, chanted as they walked up Yonge St. “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re fabulous! Don’t fuck with us!” and “Ho ho! Hey hey! GSAs are here to stay!”
Marchers left a trail of glitter on the street behind them. Many drivers honked in support, and pedestrians cheered.
Oraa and his marshals stopped traffic at each intersection and brought the crowd through without incident. Toronto Police arrived as the marchers got to the intersection of Church and Carlton streets, but they did not leave their van, allowing marchers to round the corner and keep going.
The march ended at the 519 Church St Community Centre just after 10pm.