10 must-attend events at Pride Toronto 2013
Toronto Pride is probably the annual event that brings out the absolute best in Torontonians. The spirit of love is contagious. Everyone busts out their rainbow spandex/leather/capes/smiles/what-have-you. There's lots of drag shows and naked parties, and then there are more low-key, family appropriate events, too. The point is, people flood the streets, happy for the fact that in this city, you can be exactly who you are and not only be loved for it, but celebrated.
Toronto Pride gives me just that — pride in my city. Pride 2013 starts today, and runs until June 30. This year's theme (which really could not be better) is SUPERQUEER! I called up Kevin Beaulieu, the executive director of Pride Toronto, and he's pretty stoked about it, too.
Here are some of his top picks for can't-miss pride events in 2013.
Flag raising at City Hall
An official proclamation of Pride week (and an annual media frenzy over whether or not heroic mayor Rob Ford will attend) occurs at the beginning of the festival each year, along with the raising of the flag. This year's flag raising will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Monday, June 24 at noon.
A discussion with Marcela Romero
Marcela Romero is the International Grand Marshal for this year's Pride festival. Romero is from Buenos Aires, and she has worked as a human rights defender advocating for trans rights. She is largely responsible for trans people in Argentina being about to change the sex on their identity cards without having to go through gender reassignment surgery—pretty indisputably awesome. Romero will speak on Tuesday, June 25 at a panel discussion called Beyond Borders: The Struggle for LGBT Human Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Dyke March
The annual Dyke March is very explicitly not a parade; rather, it's meant as a display of strength and solidarity amongst women and trans people—a serious political demonstration. This year's march will take place on Saturday, June 29. Check out the route here.
The Trans March
The Trans March is open to not only trans people, but their friends and allies, as well. However, trans women of colour and trans people of different abilities are encouraged to step up and lead the march as examples of particular awesomeness. The march has been an annual event since 2009, and this year's march will take place on Yonge St. on June 28, with an initial gathering at Norman Jewison Park.
Diamond Rings and Drag
Diamond Rings will be back at Pride this year on June 28, accompanied by other lovely performers such as Light Fires and Carole Pope (who will fit in just great, as she has released an EP called Music for Lesbians). There will be plenty of drag shows for prime eye-feasting as well—Pride is not Pride without a healthy dose of drag queens (how they get in dem jeans?)
Blockorama 15th anniversary
Blockorama is the longest-running stage taking part in Pride this year. Put on by Blackness Yes!, this event celebrates queer people from black communities specifically. This year's Blockorama will feature musicians, DJs, and drag shows. It's a licensed event at the TD stage on June 30, but it's open to all ages.
Church Street Fair
Church St. will be transformed into what promises to be a lively street fair. Hit up the stretch between Bloor and Carlton for a sure-fire chance to see a few naked man-butts and a lot of friendly faces. The fair is basically a party in the streets, and it spans the final weekend of pride, from June 28 to 30. It includes everything from sweet local snacks to street performances and marketplaces. If you do nothing else this Pride weekend, drop by Church on the day of the parade to soak up the best of Toronto's gay culture.
If I had children, I would not allow them to miss Family Pride under any circumstances. It teaches kids about sexual and gender identity, exposes them to different types of families, and shows them it's okay to be yourself, whoever that might grow up to look like. Too adorable for words, really, and a highly important part of a child's education. This year's Family Pride takes place at Church Street Junior Public School at the corner of Church and Alexander on June 29 and 30, from noon to 5 p.m.
The annual Pride Parade
The parade is the crowning glory of Pride, no bones about it. Each year, the parade draws about a million people who come to celebrate and pay homage to both the gay community and our city's spirit of inclusivity in the Church-Wellesley area. This year marks the 33rd year in a row that Toronto has got its gay on in the village. The parade is scheduled for Sunday, June 30, and it'll start at 2 p.m., with the party lasting well into the night. This year, there are over 160 organizations participating, including everyone from the OPP to Polyamory Toronto.
Queer Family Brunch
Queer Family Brunch is another can't-miss event for queer fam jams looking to participate in this year's Pride. Held at the Gladstone, this version of Toronto's favourite meal will not only feature Eggs Benny, but also a reading by S. Bear Bergman, a live band, and a dressup station. This one will actually be worth waiting in lines for.
What are you looking forward to at Pride? Add your event suggestions to the comment thread below.
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