Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau continues his historic run as leader by becoming the first sitting prime minister to march in the Toronto Pride festivities later this year. While some may not necessarily agree with Justin Trudeau’s politics, the fact that the new prime minister is attending Toronto Pride is definitely significant.
— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) February 22, 2016
Justin Trudeau has attended Pride festivities in the past, most recently in Vancouver in August, 2015. He has attended Pride festivities in both Toronto and Vancouver “for years,” according to Pink News, but his attendance as the Canadian prime minister will mark the first time any sitting leader, to organizers’ knowledge, has attended and marched in a Pride parade.
“[It’s] big news in Canada but big news around the world,” Mathieu Chantelois, executive director of Toronto Pride, told BuzzFeed. “Not only because he is probably the sexiest politician alive but also because there has never been a leader of a country to walk in a parade, at least not that we know of.”
Chantelois also told BuzzFeed that he was impressed by Justin Trudeau’s commitment to LGBTQ issues.
“When we met him in his office, he was really serious about talking about trans rights, about equal rights, about immigration, about gay men donating blood,” he said. “All these things are very important topics for him.”
Justin Trudeau will not be the only Canadian leader in attendance at Toronto Pride. According to the National Post, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Toronto Mayor John Tory are also slated to appear.
For the first time ever, Toronto will be marking Pride Month, which will start June 1, 2016. Throughout the month, a variety of marches will be held, including a Trans March and a Dyke March. The month will culminate with the Toronto Pride Parade, to be held July 3.
Gay Syrian refugees will also be able to participate in this year’s festivities, according to organizers. The theme for the month is belonging and inclusion with the title, “You Can Sit With Us.”
Organizers had asked the community at large to pose for a picture showing their Pride and over 300 individuals came out for the opportunity, including Justin Trudeau. Pride Toronto organizers said they hoped that people from beyond the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) would take part in this year’s festivities.
“We want to not only showcase our beautiful community, but also make everyone feel connected and included,” according to the Pride Toronto site. “By participating in our campaign, our community has already taken a stand for Pride, and we welcome everyone around the world to not only sit, but rally, march and celebrate together this June.”
Justin Trudeau was not the only government representative to take part in the photo campaign; Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne and her partner Jane Rounthewaite also participated in the photo shoot, in addition to Toronto mayor John Tory.
Chantelois had great hope that the photo campaign would bring a more public view to the LGBTQ community of Toronto. “If a picture is worth 1,000 words, maybe 1,000 pictures have the potential to give a true face to our community. And what a truly diverse and beautiful community we have!”
Some have noted that it is not unusual for Justin Trudeau to be in attendance at a Pride event, as he has attended many Pride parades in various Canadian cities in the past, including Toronto and Vancouver. However, Justin Trudeau will be in attendance this time as Canadian prime minister, which will mark the first time a Canadian leader of his stature will be involved in the festivities.
[Photo by Donald Weber/Getty Images]