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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Toronto Pride for the second year

Made history in 2016 when he became the first sitting Canadian PM to march in a Pride parade

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Toronto Pride parade on July 3, 2016. Credit: Nick Lachance/Daily Xtra

For a second year in a row, Canada’s prime minister will march in the Toronto Pride parade.

In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first sitting Canadian PM to march in a Pride parade.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the first openly gay premier in Canadian history, and Toronto Mayor John Tory will also march again, meaning the leaders of all three levels of government will participate.

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, a national advocacy group that represents 634 First Nations communities, will also march in the parade.

Last year Trudeau also marched in the Montreal and Vancouver Pride parades. Earlier this month, Xtra had asked the prime minister’s office if Trudeau would march in any Pride parades this year, but the PMO declined to be specific.

“The Prime Minister is looking forward to participating in events to celebrate Pride over the course of the year,” wrote Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for the PMO.

While he’s been outspoken about his support for the LGBT community, Trudeau’s record on issues that affect queer and trans people has so far been mixed.

A trans-rights bill, a major goal of LGBT activists for a decade, was signed into law on June 19, 2017. The Liberal government has also promised to formally apologize to LGBT people who were charged under homophobic laws, and to equalize the treatment of anal and vaginal sex in the Criminal Code.

But the government is maintaining the blood ban on men who have sex with men and has so far been unwilling to touch the Harper government’s sex work and refugee legislation, both of which disproportionately impact LGBT communities.

In an interview with Xtra last year, Trudeau maintained that it’s symbolically important for the prime minister to attend Pride.

“We recognize that it’s not just me going to the parade yet again,” he said. “The community and Canadians put in place a prime minister who understood how important it is to attend Pride.”