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WorldPride News | March 2014

WorldPride News | March 2014

WorldPride News brings you all the latest news and information, as well as in-depth features, on a wide range of WorldPride 2014 topics. WorldPride News is scheduled to appear each month and will be highlighted on the home page of the WorldPride 2014 website. Read On!

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Make WorldPride Happen, Volunteer Porter Goes Live

WorldPride 2014 Toronto is shaping up to be an amazing queer celebration that will turn streets into parades, parks into parties and strangers into friends. Presented by Pride Toronto, this international festival will take place from June 20 to 29, 2014.

VOLUNTEER and be a part of this incredible movement.

Learn More at makepridehappen.com

Over 2000 – that's right over 2000 – volunteers are needed and you should be one of them!

The benefits are real:
  • an easy way to give back to the festival
  • meet new people
  • learn and develop resume skills
Roles include:
  • behind the scenes logistics
  • crowd engagement
  • quiet cultural events

Right now, today, go to the makepridehappen.com and sign up. It's easy; on the website you'll find a volunteer portal with step by step instructions on how to join WorldPride.

Don't miss this unique opportunity! WorldPride will be here in June, sign up and be part of the celebration.

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Shelley Craig, Co-Chair, Board of Directors 2013-2014

Co-Chair of Pride Toronto, Shelley Craig recognizes how far Pride has come in Toronto because of the efforts of thousands of effective and visionary volunteers as well as a dedicated staff over the years.  

Working with the Board of Directors has helped her identify a number of areas where Pride Toronto might apply its collective energies. One is a continued focus on local outreach, including communicating the importance of support and protection for all LGBTTIQQ2SA* populations and the role that Pride can play in growing a more equitable city.  She believes a healthy Pride can symbolize a healthier Toronto.  

“We are fortunate to live in a city where diversity is increasingly the norm and not the exception,” she says.  “There are still risks for many LGBTTIQQ2SA* community members that have to be addressed.”

And in order to address these risks Shelley believes that an organization must be an effective advocate for the people it represents. The individuals and groups that together make up WorldPride 2014 understand that to successfully realize social change within the LGBTTIQQ2SA* community they must have a strong governance structure.   It is not surprising that WorldPride 2014 has met this challenge by putting in place an executive team made up of respected leaders from across the country whose commitment to LGBTTIQQ2SA* issues is well known.

Pride Toronto, presenter of WorldPride 2014, continues to explore ways to strategically leverage its growing influence.  As WorldPride 2014 grows, it’s important to honour and encourage the development of LGBTTIQQ2SA* supportive individuals, families, communities, businesses and organizations. This drive to be an effective change agent is reflected in WorldPride 2014’s recognized position as a leader in the struggle for human rights.  Shelley believes firmly that “the LGBTTIQQ2SA* community, on both the Canadian as well as the world stage, cannot separate human rights from everything we do as an organization and a movement.”   While there is an appreciation of how Canada has embraced some progressive ideals, many countries still perpetrate considerable violence.  She says, “There is urgency to the human rights needs of the LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities in repressive societies that cannot be ignored.”

Dr. Shelley Craig is Co-Chair of the 2013 – 2014 Pride Toronto Board of Directors.   Shelley is an Assistant Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto with a specific expertise in delivering effective services for vulnerable populations.  She has served as President of the Board of Heartstrong, an organization serving LGBTTIQQ2SA* youth in religious schools, on the National Board of Directors of PFLAG National (US) and an appointed member of the Commission of Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression of the Council on Social Work Education. Her extensive research has focused on the risks and resiliencies of sexual and gender minority youth and the organizations that serve them, and has been published in leading international journals.

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#LoveSochi Campaign and Rally a Huge Success

On February 6, WorldPride 2014 Toronto, launched the #LOVESOCHI action, and participated in a local Toronto rally at the Russian consulate.  WorldPride 2014 Toronto continues to lend its voice to the chorus of those who stand up for LGBTTIQQ2SA* Rights, because these rights are Human Rights.

#LOVESOCHI is a message of love and support to LGBTTIQQ2SA* people in Russia and around the world who survive despite government oppression. To share your support, take a photo or video of hands making the heart symbol and share it with #LOVESOCHI hashtag on all social media. 

#LoveSochi Results


Human Rights Conference, June 24-27, A Highlight of WorldPride 2014

Today, there is an urgent need to effectively meet the many human rights challenges facing LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities all over the world.  Recent international developments clearly demonstrate that there is still much work to be done.  The news out of Uganda is a very well documented reminder of a how one LGBTTIQQ2SA* community is the victim of state sponsored persecution.

In this context, a crucial part of   the WorldPride 2014 Toronto festival is a three day Human Rights Conference (June 25 to 27, 2014).  The conference will be held on the campus of the University of Toronto in partnership with the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, or SDS.  The event will be the largest Human Rights Conference a WorldPride has ever hosted.

SDS has a well-earned reputation for establishing strong relationships among faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and community members interested in how we understand sexual diversity and sexual practices.  The partnership between WorldPride 2014 and SDS as the host the Human Rights Conference will no doubt contribute to the success of this important event.

Brenda Cossman, the Director of SDS, agrees. “Hosting the conference provides an incredible opportunity for SDS to be engaged on a more global level,” she says.  “It is crucial these days that if you are working on LGBTTIQQ2SA* issues, they have to be viewed globally.”

The conference has attracted a great deal of international interest with over 300 applications to participate.  From this list 150 presenters have been selected representing 60 countries and all the continents (except Antarctica).  One of the presenters will be the former Prime Minister of Iceland, and the world’s first openly gay head of government, Johanna Siguroardottir.

Cossman stresses that the conference is open to anyone and everyone interested in the worldwide discussion that will be taking place.  “People attending the conference as well as the participants will actually be able to sit down, roll up their sleeves and talk about the issues,” she says.

Conference planners are also excited about getting the presenters out into the community for parallel talks or tours.  Organizations like the Toronto Public Library are not only advising WorldPride but also looking to create synergies of their own.  Community involvement is a key objective for both the Human Rights Conference and WorldPride 2014.

Toronto is the ideal city to host both WorldPride 2014 and the Human Rights Conference.  The city had the first same sex marriage, is actively multicultural and pursues an agenda that includes a genuine commitment to diversity. 

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Make WorldPride Happen Volunteer Portal Goes Live
Team News
Message from Shelley Craig, Board Co-Chair
#LoveSochi Campaign and Rally a Success
Human Rights Conference, a Highlight of WorldPride 2014
WorldPride Arts & Culture; One of Canada's Biggest Festivals

Family Pride wants to hear from you!

One of the most exciting events featured at the Pride Festival is the sensational kid-friendly zone hosted by the Family Pride Team.  Family Pride offers a wide range of activities and entertainment geared to kids and families including live music, storytelling, arts and crafts activities, face painting, sports and water play areas and family focused community information booths.

Take the Family Pride Survey

We want to build on the success of last year’s Family Pride and ensure we continue to meet the needs of our families.   Of course the best way to do that is to ask!

Please take the time to fill out our online survey about your family’s experience of last year’s event. The results of the survey will improve Family Pride for all!

Alternatively, please contact the Family Pride Team for a different format of the survey.

The success of Family Pride stems from the Team’s strong commitment to celebrate the diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA* parents/caregivers and children.  The safe and welcoming environment creates a fun space that engages families and grows positive networks in the celebration of their love.  It’s clear that the work of Family Pride and its fantastic circle of friends in the community will contribute to a strong and bright future.

You can help with the ongoing success of Family Pride by filling out the survey! NOW!

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WorldPride Arts & Culture: One of Canada's Biggest Festivals

Melissa Etheridge

Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA* community loves a Parade!  And with good reason!  Pride in Toronto is one of the largest Prides in North America.  Taking place over 25 city blocks, featuring 3 Parades down Toronto's streets (Trans, Dyke & Pride), involving over a thousand volunteers, tens of thousands of participants, with more than 1.2 million visitors attending the streetfair and the marches over the final 3 days, Pride is a truly massive event. For the city's LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities, the Parade is a celebration of diversity and respect – it is a way to remember the past struggles that made Pride Week possible and the hard work that still remains. 

Neon Hitch

While the Pride Parade is a crucial part of Pride Week, it's far from the full story

As one of Canada's largest artistic and cultural festivals and Toronto's most hotly-anticipated festival experience every year, Pride in Toronto and WorldPride 2014 will transform the city into Canada's most diverse, exciting and engaging arena for music, dance, and performance, visual and experiential art and expression. For 10 days, Toronto will be completely transformed, set across 10 open air stages, turning parks into performance arenas, and incorporating the major arts and culture institutions and organizations from across the city. Last year's Pride Week played host to more than 200 artists from Canada and around the world, and welcomed more than 1.2 million guests, making it larger than Chicago's Lollapalooza and rivaling Calgary's Stampede for the title of Canada's largest festival.  This year WorldPride 2014 will dwarf those numbers, with even more artists, more attendees, and a footprint that spans the city; a festival that can only be described as fierce. 

Hercules & Love Affair

Even more impressive than Pride Week's size is the incredible sense of inclusivity that is central to the arts and culture festival – with artists of all genders, orientations, expressions, and points of origin, Pride is helping to change the face of performing arts in Toronto. From Black Queer Youth to AlternaQueer, FrancoQueer to Trans Space, Dyke Day Afternoon to the Dirty Disco, the diversity of the program reflects and honours the diversity of the communities that Pride serves. Whether it's the best live music from Canada and around the world, provocative live dance, confronting visual installations, films, or theatre the arts and culture that make Pride Week and WorldPride 2014 the event of the year highlights the strength in our differences. By voicing queer stories, lives and bodies, and showcasing queer cultural practices and art forms, Pride Week and WorldPride 2014 are statements, a response and a celebration that has an important impact on LGBTTIQQ2SA communities across Canada and the World.


   Pride Toronto twitter

  WorldPride Facebook 

   WorldPride twitter

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