Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Worldwide Gay Pride – 2016

It's somewhat of a tradition at The Wild Reed to share at this time of year images of LGBTQ Pride celebrations from around the world. I found most of the following images in Sarah Karlan's June 3 BuzzFeed article, one that provides a "glimpse into the celebrations of love and the fight for equality across different countries and cultures in 2016."

So without further ado, let's get started! . . .

Above: Celebrating Queer Pride in Mexico City. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters).

Above: A participant in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade – May 8, 2016. (Photo: Taro Karibe/Getty Images)

Above: At the 46th annual Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California, a participant holds a sign of remembrance for the Orlando mass shooting victims – June 12, 2016. (Photo: David McNew/Reuters)

Above: Istanbul, Turkey – June 19, 2016. (Photo: Osman Orsal/Reuters)

Above: Sydney, Australia. (Photo: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

On July 4, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history by becaming the country's first head of government to take part in Toronto's annual gay pride parade. Writes Theo Ward about the significance of thisTrudeau's participation as depicted in the image at right:

It shouldn't be a surprise that Canada's current prime minister would make an appearance in Toronto at one of the largest gay pride parades in the world - maybe he could have dressed in a natty suit and his signature tan lace-ups, and waved to the crowd while waving the flag. That alone would have been enough to make history, to feed the news cycle and to build the Justin™ brand. Maybe even snag another GQ cover.

But, no. Appreciate what is happening in this photo. This G7 leader decided to bare his hairless chest in a salmon-pink shirt, and slip into curvy white jeans (there isn't a straight guy alive that can pull off white jeans without irony - don't even bother disagreeing with me), and shake his baby-maker under a high, July sun while being hosed down by a hundred water pistols wielded by all manner of race and colour along the straight, L, G, B, T, and Q spectrum. And in this picture, you can just make out the guy in the hat to the right of Trudeau's jubilant armpit. He's [Bassel Mcleash] a recent émigré to Canada. A 5-foot-1, gay, HIV-positive Syrian refugee, which, if you look it up, is the definition of completely fucked back in his devastated homeland. And yet, there he is, marching and dancing next to the leader of his newly-adopted country, agog in the middle of Yonge Street.

Some might say that this is simply a picture of liberalism gone wild, or of biblical deviance, or of political opportunism. Go ahead – knock yourself out. Or, you would be partially correct to see this as a photo of a minority group celebrating a wider acceptance of its claim to humanity. It is that, and a great deal more. To look at this photo and not grasp its significance is to not only succumb to shallow, jaded and isolated thinking, but also to take for granted a level of freedom that is absurdly great in comparison to the utter bleakness in other corners of the world right now. This is a photo that says, "You have the freedom to not only feel love here, but to demonstrate it, celebrate it, sing it and shine it. Don't squander it."

Above: Toronto's Black Lives Matter chapter march in Toronto's July 3 Pride parade. (Photo by Mark Blinch/CP)

Above: At one point during Toronto's Pride parade, the Black Lives Matters contingent brought proceedings to a halt by occupying a space in the middle of the parade route. (Photo by Mark Blinch/CP)

Notes CBC News:

Members of the Black Lives Matter Toronto group briefly halted the Pride parade, holding up the marching for about 30 minutes.

The parade didn't re-start until after Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed a document agreeing to the group's demands.

The organization was given the status of Honoured Group for the parade, which is the grand finale of Pride Month. It did not give Pride Toronto advance notice of their planned sit-in.

Alexandra Williams, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, told CBC's Natasha Fatah that they held the sit-in because they wanted to hold Pride Toronto accountable for what she called "anti-blackness."

. . . In a news release, the group said Pride Toronto "has shown little honour to black queer/trans communities, and other marginalized communities [and that] over the years, Pride has threatened the existence of black spaces at Pride that have existed for years."

Writing about the Black Lives Matter action for The Huffington Post, Angelyn Francis notes that the protest "rattled the public" and left people questioning "if Pride is the right place to stage a protest."

Black Lives Matter Toronto, the community organization chosen to lead the 2016 Pride Parade, halted the march and refused to continue until Pride organizers met their demands.

Their list was focused on making Pride celebrations more accessible and inclusive to black, brown and indigenous LGBT communities.

After 25 minutes, Toronto Pride's executive director, Mathieu Chantelois, signed the demands, and the revellers were on their way again. (In a CP24 interview, however, Chantelois later backtracked and said Black Lives Matter's demands, particularly about excluding police floats from future parades, would be open to discussion.)

But a number of community members were peeved at the demonstration.

In the days that followed, organizers [including Rodney Diverlus, pictured at left] said they were flooded with hate mail from people who disagreed with their demands and tactics.

Among other criticisms, many have said that the parade was not the time, nor the place, for a protest.

However, the majority of LGBT Prides around the world were born out of protests. Queer activists took to the streets defiantly, demanding fair treatment, rather than as part of an organized street festival.

Above: Three hundred people participated in the 8th annual Soweto Gay Pride Parade in South Africa, something that would have been unheard of twenty years ago. (Photo: Richard Lautens/Getty Images)

Above: Participants prepare for a gay pride parade in Mumbai, India -- February 6, 2016. Hundreds took part in the Mumbai parade and called on the Indian government to end discrimination against the queer community. (Photo: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

Above: Tony Enos of the Cherokee nation greets the crowds at the 44th annual New York Gay Pride parade. Enos is part of the East Coast Two Spirit Society which came to participate in the parade with dancers, a pow wow drum group and music DJ Red Daughter. For more images and commentary, click here. (Photo: Cliff Matias)

Related Off-site Links:
The Political Roots of LGBT Pride Parades – Angelyn Francis (HuffPost Queer Voices, July 8, 2016).
A Pride Protest Thrusts Black Lives Matter Into the Spotlight in Canada – Tamara Khandaker (Vice News, July 8, 2016).
Toronto Pride Was Exactly The Right Moment For Black Lives Matter – Glenn Canning (The Huffington Post, July 8, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2013
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2012
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2011
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2010
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2009
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2008
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2007

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