What do Bollywood star Celina Jaitly, Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot and David Furnish, Elton John’s husband, all have in common?
They’ll all be leading the 2015 Toronto Pride parade.
At a press conference at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on May 26, Mathieu Chantelois, executive director of Pride Toronto, announced a whole host of LGBT and ally luminaries who will be taking part in this year’s festivities, June 19 to 28.
Jaitly, an LGBT ally who has championed gay rights in India, will be one of the international grand marshals of the Pride parade on June 28, along with members of Pussy Riot and pop star Cyndi Lauper. Furnish, who hails from Scarborough, will be the grand marshal of the parade. Brendan Jordan, the 14-year-old who became an internet sensation after he was caught voguing during a live TV news segment, will be the first ever youth ambassador. Rounding out the parade leaders is PrideHouse Toronto, this year’s honoured group.
John Waters will also make an appearance at Pride, bringing his “This Filthy World” lecture to the Ryerson Theatre on June 22. And this year boasts an impressive line-up of drag performers, including the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, Bianca Del Rio.
Returning this year is the Pride Human Rights Conference, which was first introduced as part of WorldPride last year. The conference will explore human rights in Pan American countries, in advance of the Pan Am Games in Ontario in July. The theme of this year’s Pride, “Come Out and Play,” was also chosen with the upcoming sporting event in mind.
The first ever Trans Pride Fair will take place before the annual Trans Pride March on June 26. Chaz Bono will be featured in the Transforming Pride showcase at the Molson Canadian Stage in Yonge-Dundas Square.