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This month on the EEA Blog we’re talking about PRIDE 2020 and giving you some ideas on how to celebrate this year!

In Toronto the first Pride was a picnic.

Held on Toronto Island in 1970, the Gay Day Picnic was organized by University of Toronto Homophile Association (UTHA), Toronto Gay Action Now, and the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT). The following year The Body Politic was formed, operating out of the home of Glad Day Bookshop’s then-owner. By 1973, Pride had become a week-long festival, but was still not officially recognized, and marchers on Yonge St were denied permits. No official pride activities were held again until 1978, the same year that Buddies in Bad Times Theatre was founded. Toronto has a long and rich history with Pride, and it’s important to note that many of the groups presenting activities this year which will be highlighted below have been working to bring equality and justice for the LGBTQ+ community since before many of us were alive. We stand on the shoulders of big, glittery giants.

Pride is a protest against hate, started by women of colour, against the malicious and improper use of police power; Pride is a protest against the shame & stigma, both internal and external, that the LGBTQ+ community has faced for far too long – and that fight isn’t over for everyone; but, Pride is also a celebration, and it is important to remember the power of joy.

Here at EEA, we are big fans of the transformative power of joy, beauty, art, and community, and so we know that, despite continued restrictions on in-person gatherings, Pride 2020 is still an opportunity to celebrate the incredible diversity of this amazing city we are so proud to call home. We’ve put together a list of events and happenings that we think you will enjoy. 

Hope we see you (from a distance or on a screen) there, you fabulous unicorn warriors. Stay safe. Stay proud. Stay home.

1. DON’T RAIN ON OUR PARADE!

Every year millions gather to march in solidarity with the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ experiences. This year, while we can’t gather in person, let’s show  our commitment to equality for all virtually. Want to participate in the parade? Contact Pride Toronto to find out how!

From Pride Toronto:

  • Trans March – June 26 // ​Toronto’s Trans Rally and March are officially one of the largest, most exciting Pride events in the world, centred around trans and non-binary folks. This year’s theme “Kinder and Stronger Together” centres around the need for support as well as the resilience of Toronto’s vibrant trans community.
  • Dyke March – June 27 // ​The Dyke March is a dyke and lesbian centred space that honours Toronto’s dyke community. This year, Pride Toronto’s annual Dyke Rally is also going virtual, with a theme of “We’re Still Here” to celebrate the history and strength of Toronto’s dynamic Dyke community.
  • Pride Parade- June 28, 2PM // ​The Virtual Pride Parade will stay true to our political roots, honouring our courageous past while celebrating how far we have come. A presentation of community highlights will be followed by a virtual parade dance party. Be sure to tune in because you never know who might pop by for a surprise performance.

2. DIGITAL EVENTS – JOIN FROM WHEREVER YOU ARE!

  • Event Name: CBC ARTS PRESENTS QUEER PRIDE INSIDE: A BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES CABARET
    Date/Time: June 24, 9pm
    Presented By: CBC & Buddies in Bad Times
    Featuring: Hosted by Elvira Kurt, with performances from Yolanda Bonnell, Gay Jesus, Teiya Kasahara, Pearle Harbour, Ivan Coyote, Tawiah M’Carthy, Gwen Benaway, Yovska, Stewart Legere & Les Femmes Fatales
    Link to Details: https://buddiesinbadtimes.com/show/queer-pride-inside/
    Description Including Why We Want to Go: This is a stacked line up of amazing performers, and it’s going to be an amazing show. We see a lot more LGBTQ+ Content on CBC these days, and it’s great to see some love for one of the city’s great cultural centres, and so many amazing local talents!
  • Event Name: Artist How-to Workshop (Vogue dancing)
    Date/Time: June 24 from 7 to 8pm
    Presented By: Pride Toronto
    Featuring: Snoopy (Matthew Cuff)
    Link to Details: https://www.pridetoronto.com/event/artist-how-to-workshops-4/
    Description Including Why We Want to Go: Voguing (or vogue dancing) has had quite an interesting history – the LGBTQ+ community is responsible for introducing it to mainstream pop culture (thanks to the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning). An article by Vox explains how this dance form originated. Won’t you be interested in trying it out during Pride month? Although Covid has cancelled all in-person Pride events, you can join Vogue dancer Snoopy for a beginner Vogue workshop online. Don’t miss it!
  • Event Name: OUTWrites Writing and Critique Sessions
    Date/Time: June 25 from 8 to 10pm
    Presented By: OUTWrites Toronto
    Featuring: N/A
    Link to Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/674895769945185/
    Description Including Why We Want to Go:
    Queer writers, imagine getting some feedback and tips on your written material for free, without having to come out to the rest of the world! OUTWrites is a queer writing group where writers of all levels and kinds (be it fiction, poetry, essays, etc.) are free to share their content. Partake in some interesting writing exercises or share your document with others to get great feedback! Even if your writing is unrelated to LGBTQ, you can join in. Join their Facebook group to learn the latest updates and get writing!
  • Event Name: Movers and Shakers (Meet the Collectives)
    Date/Time: June 24 from 8 to 9pm
    Presented By: Pride Toronto
    Featuring: Hollywood Jade
    Link to Details: https://www.pridetoronto.com/event/movers-and-shakers-4/
    Description Including Why We Want to Go: Ever wondered how members of the LGBTQ+ community become changemakers? Knowing a story behind a powerful collective and how the biggest events are brought about can inspire many upcoming LGBTQ+ leaders. Join host Hollywood Jade for Pride Toronto’s last installment of Movers and Shakers, where they’ll meet the Rangeela crew – the group that’s behind the country’s only LGBTQ+ inclusive Bollywood parties! They also recently threw a global Bollywood Drag Party online! We’re waiting to hear how they manage to get it all going!

3. IRL (In Real Life) EVENTS in East Toronto!

Now that we are allowed gatherings of up to ten people, why not commemorate that 1970 Gay Day Picnic with one of your own? Make sure you respect the guidelines released by Toronto Public Health, but you and your “bubble” can order a picnic kit from our pals at Good Cheese and hit up Riverdale Park, or transform your own back yard or balcony into a picnic to make your LGBTQ+ Ancestors Proud!

Buddies in Bad Times presents a full series of Analogue Pride Events taking place IRL (In Real Life!!) with social distancing protocols in place to keep you safe while you celebrate Pride. Here are some of the Analogue Pride events taking place in East Toronto!

  • Event Name: POCKET GAY TO NIGHT
    Date/Time: June 22-27, daily at 8pm
    Location: Boultbee Ave + Jones Ave
    Featuring: creators Trixie & Beever (with Adrien Whan)
    Link to Details: https://buddiesinbadtimes.com/show/analogue-pride/
    Description Including Why We Want to Go: “Pride nightlife vibes make their way to Trixie and Beever’s east end home. In the back, a balcony covered in Pride accouterments echoes the ones seen throughout the village, while the front turns into a party scene at dusk, as lights, music, shadows, and fog spill into the street.”
    Missing the vibes of walking up Church Street and seeing all the balconies covered in rainbow decorations and messages of love, solidarity and Pride? Wishing you could stare into the window and see people cutting a rug? Mistresses of DIY Trixie & Beever will bring your beloved pride vibes to The Pocket!
  • Event Name: THE TWILIGHT FAIRY GARDEN
    Date/Time: June 27, 9pm
    Location: Pape Ave + Bain Ave (will also be live-streamed!)
    Featuring: director, animator Raymond Helkio, composer Stewart Borden, offering Keith Cole, musical saw Charlie C. Petch, vocals Hélène Ducharme, writer David Bateman, additional audio/video Laura Cowell
    Link to details: https://buddiesinbadtimes.com/show/analogue-pride/
    Description Including Why We Want to Go: “Fairies will fly, fireflies will mate and disco ball unicorns will perform a musical saw aria culminating in a majestic rainbow. Watch a backyard garden transform, in real-time, into a magical symphony of colour, sound and critters of the queerest kind.”
    Everybody loves fairies!

Article Sources:

https://www.pridetoronto.com/organization/history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddies_in_Bad_Times

Photo Credits:

#1 – Main Banner Image: Pride Toronto by Kyle Hinkson
#2 – Gay Picnic, 1972. Arquives, Toronto Gay Action, Vertical file (c. 1972)
#3 – “Youth Line at Pride 2012,” The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions, accessed June 15, 2020, https://digitalexhibitions.arquives.ca/items/show/1066.
#4 – Black Lives Matter Toronto at Toronto Pride on June 25, 2017. Credit: Nick Lachance/Xtra
#5 – Still from the Queer Nineties, directed by Nancy Nicol, StopPoliceRacism, Pride Day
#6 – Still from Stand Together, directed by Nancy Nicol, CGRO demo Job Security
#7 – Alley Yapput, Stacy Status, and June Thunderchild at Pride, Unknown photographer, 1992, Toronto, Ontario, Courtesy of the University of Winnipeg Archives, Two-Spirited Collection (17.026)

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