We are volunteers from Toronto’s trans* communities who have found a welcoming and supportive home in Pride Toronto, and as Trans* Pride Team Leads, have worked within our communities and within Pride Toronto to ensure trans*-inclusiveness. We are proud of our efforts and consider this year’s festival a success, while acknowledging that there is also more to be done.
Pride Toronto is proud of its trans*-inclusive programming, including organizing the rally before the trans* march and collaborating with an ad hoc trans* community group on the march itself. To ensure transparency and accountability, the Trans* Pride Team of Pride Toronto organized several well-attended community town halls in the lead-up to the event, and although Pride Toronto is not a funding body for other organizations, it provided meeting space, refreshments and American Sign Language interpretation every time it was requested at meetings held by the group of which the author of the article is a member. Whether or not one is satisfied with the level of support Pride Toronto has offered to this group, it is grossly inaccurate and unfair to claim that no support was given.
One of the most memorable moments of this year’s festival was when our International Grand Marshal, Marcela Romero, a trans* community activist from Argentina, took the stage to launch the programming at Yonge-Dundas Square and issued a call for trans* rights, to supportive cheers from the large crowd. In addition, Pride Toronto and its spokespeople have consistently made trans* rights a central focus at this year’s festival, in particular calling in its public statements on the Senate to pass Bill C-279, which would add gender identity as a prohibited grounds for discrimination into the Canadian Human Rights Act.
In the past few years, the programming on Pride Toronto’s stages has been more trans*-inclusive than ever, and has been arguably one of the largest showcases of trans* community talent anywhere. This year, the Pride Toronto Trans Pride Team focused on programming and representation from trans* communities of colour, whose voices are so often marginalized or silenced. Almost 20 per cent of the artists at the 2013 festival were trans*-identified. All of these performers, including the author of the article, are paid for their work, and Pride Toronto is proud to provide such a visible platform for trans* voices.
The feedback from genderqueer/gender-independent folks is that they were pleased to see representation of genderqueer folks speaking openly and publicly about gender non-conformity. Community members felt included and represented in this watershed moment.
The Pride Toronto Trans* Pride Team not only organized the pre-March Rally and a large contingent of marchers for the Trans* March itself, but also provided three nights and two full days of resource materials and activities at Trans* Space, as well as a wonderful, free, and well-attended trans* event which was held on Sunday 30 June. Pride Toronto provided space, food, resources and activities at the event, which featured all trans* performers (including the DJ) all from many communities.
Pride Toronto will continue its efforts to ensure trans* inclusion, both within the organization and within society as a whole. The trans* communities are included in all parts of the organization, including the board of directors, team leads, volunteers, and staff. We are excited by the legal and political changes that appears to be happening, but understand that it is only meaningful if it is carried effectively into social change. We continue to stand with trans* communities in their struggle for human rights and social inclusion.
Trans Pride Team Leads