Toronto is a city of sublime acceptance and compassion, and the recent WorldPride Parade was a striking example of that. Here are five ways that the event impacted me, regardless of my sexual orientation.
1. Body acceptance is a real and powerful thing. For those of us who have ever struggled with body image, it’s empowering to see people of all ages, shapes and sizes march boldly with passion and confidence.
2. Pride is not (yet) global. There are still many countries in Africa and the Middle East that punish homosexuality. Seeing people march from some of these persecuted countries, including one who left his native Russia to seek refuge here, was intensely humbling.
3. Numbers matter. When 1.5 million people congregate to express beliefs about human rights, the world notices. It has to.
4. Diversity is essential. In this parade, we saw people from dozens of countries. They were lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and asexual. They were police officers, nurses, priests, rabbis, postal workers, students, musicians, artists, dancers, and activists. Some even represented banks, cars, radio stations, airlines and beverages. While there was some debate about the presence of corporate brands, I viewed it as a show of support that could come in handy on the global stage.
5. Change is happening. With every Pride event that takes place throughout the world, we get a little bit closer to achieving equal rights for all human beings. It's ok to expect harmony.