Politics took centre stage in this year’s Toronto’s Pride parade July 3 with hundreds of marchers demanding gay-straight alliances (GSA) in Catholic schools and rights for trans people at the provincial and federal level.
More than a million are estimated to have attended the 31st annual parade, the largest in Canada, and the largest parade in Pride Toronto’s (PT) history.
Noticeably absent from the contingents of marchers was Toronto mayor Rob Ford, Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak and Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Unlike at Saturday’s Dyke March, there was no sign of councillor Giorgio Mammoliti videotaping participants.
The group that likely got the loudest cheers were members of Catholic Students for GSAs and the PT Youth Contingent. Students beamed and waved rainbow flags high in the air as they marched down the street waving at the crowds.
After the parade wrapped up, members of the Proud of Toronto campaign staged a flash mob at Church and Wellesley to protest expected cuts by Ford to vital city services, such as HIV/AIDS harm reduction strategies, arts and culture and major festivals like the Pride parade.