Toronto is pretty amazing, not only has it been named the most diverse and multicultural city in the world but it also boasts the title of the safest large metropolitan area in North America. In addition to it's many titles, we'd like to add another distinction to Toronto's distinguished list of awards, Most LGBTQ Friendly City.
As citizens of a city that is extremely progressive and accepting, we often take our opportunities and our privileges for granted. LGBTQ residents of Toronto can for a large part live normal fulfilling lives free from outright hostility, prejudice, danger and/or fear of discrimination and violence, something that our brothers and sisters across the world may not be so lucky to experience. As far as Toronto has come however, there is still a long way to go. Inequality, prejudice and discrimination still do exist in our city, which makes Toronto's LGBTQ initiatives all the more important, relevant and essential. In honour of pride month, here is a list of reasons why Toronto is the most LGBTQ friendly city.
1. Church and Wellesley Village
The Church and Wellesley Village is one of Toronto's most vibrant alternative communities. Comprised of residents and citizens from an assortment of ethnicities, genders, identities, orientations and lifestyles, "The Village" is home-base for the LGBTQ community. Safe spaces and a sense of community are important and essential for minorities and the Village ensures a safe haven free from worry of discrimination.
2. Queer West
The emerging second LGBTQ neighbourhood in Toronto, Queer West boasts 11 gay and lesbian owned businesses, bars, cafes, galleries and restaurants, and even it's own queer film festival. Located between Trinity Bellwoods Park and Roncesvalles Avenue, Queer West has quickly become a destination for artists, queer residents and people of all walks of life to co-exist
3. Kathleen Wynne
As the first woman, and firstly openly lesbian premier in Ontario History, Kathleen Wynne is an example of the progressive attitude of Toronto and the province. Whether you agree with her politics, there is no doubt that Wynne being in office has set an example and a precedent for tolerance, acceptance, opportunity and inclusivity for the LGBTQ community. A political representative with the communities interests in mind and at heart is something we should all be proud of.
4. Pride Month
Toronto's pride festival is renowned worldwide as one of the most extravagant, inclusive and educational weeks of celebration for the LGBTQ community. This year, Toronto has upped the ante once again. June has now become Pride Month, an entire month long festival paying homage to the past, present, and future of LGBTQ culture. No other city does it like Toronto.
5. World Pride
In addition to Pride Month, Toronto was also host of World Pride, in 2014, setting the stage for the city as an international LGBTQ landmark and destination. Thousands travelled from across the world to witness and experience the vibrant queer culture Toronto has to offer.
6. Justin Trudeau
From raising the pride flag on Parliament hill for the very first time to marching in this years parade, Justin Trudeau truly is the most LGBTQ friendly prime minister this country has ever witnessed. His government thus far has pledged to:
- Introduce government legislation to ensure that trans rights are fully protected.
- End the discriminatory ban that prevents men who have had sex with men from donating blood.
- Ensure that Canada’s diversity is reflected in government – that means including LGBTQ2 individuals.
7. John Tory
In the wake of Rob Ford's homophobic tendencies, John Tory has ushered in a new era of acceptance and progress within office in Toronto. From ushering in a new LGBTQ shelter in the Annex to showing full support of Pride and the queer community by walking in the Parade, Tory fully participates in the culture of acceptance and positivity that has fostered Toronto's reputation as an LGBTQ destination.
8. Buddies In Bad Times
As Toronto's designated queer theatre, Buddies in Bad Times is an essential aspect of the cultural fabric that makes up Toronto's vibrant queer community. "As the world’s longest-running and largest queer theatre, Buddies is uniquely positioned to develop, promote, and preserve stories and perspectives that are challenging and alternative." Check out their shows, or hit them up on a Saturday night for a wildly fun party.
9. The 519
Toronto takes care of it's LGBTQ residents, and the 519 is a perfect example of their level of commitment. "The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ community. A City of Toronto agency with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, we strive to make a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect."
10. Inside Out Festival
For more than two decades, Inside Out has brought Toronto's LGBT community together in celebration of the best queer film from Canada and around the world. Through their annual Festivals in Toronto and Ottawa, filmmaker initiatives, youth engagement and year-round events and screenings, Inside Out is engaged every day in challenging attitudes and changing lives.