June 26th, 2015
June 26th, 2015
On behalf of Ontario’s New Democrats, I’m proud to celebrate Pride.
Through June and July, in communities across our province, Ontarians will celebrate acceptance – The acceptance of all Ontarians regardless of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.
Just 35 years ago, Pride in Toronto began as a protest. It was a few thousand people rallying against discrimination toward the LGBTQ community. Now – this week – more than a million people, of all backgrounds, from all over the world descend on Toronto to participate in celebratory events.
It is inspiring, and it is remarkable to see how far we have come.
I’m proud of the role that New Democrats have played in this process.
From the very first days, 35 years ago, when the NDP called for the repeal of discriminatory parts of the Criminal Code of Canada, to the work that we have done over the last few years to make our province safer for LGBTQ people, New Democrats have been proud to support the fight for gay rights.
Working with our partners in the LGBTQ community we helped protect the rights of students in Ontario to form Gay-Straight Alliances in their schools – in any school.
We were able to get Toby’s Law passed, which prohibits all forms of discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.
Most recently, thanks to strong advocacy from the trans community, we were able to ban the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ in Ontario.
I’m proud that Ontario is a world leader in LGBTQ rights.
And I’m proud that, time and again, we have said that LGBTQ rights are human rights, and that there can be no half-measures when it comes to human rights.
I want to congratulate the organizers and the volunteers who give selflessly of their time to make Pride festivities the enormous success that they are.
This week, we get to celebrate the tremendous achievements of the LGBTQ community.
Meaningful social change takes years of hard work. And that work continues. But it is important to take the time to celebrate what you have managed to achieve.
And it would be hard to find a better celebration than pride.