This year’s Pride celebrations in Toronto were nothing short of spectacular. People from all different backgrounds and identities came to celebrate together. Brightly coloured clothing lit up the parade. Excited exclamations roared through the streets.
It was a Pride of many firsts, including but not limited to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attendance (selfies and all) and extending the festivities to a month-long celebration.
Yet it also occurred in the context of controversy, loss and a push for justice.
This is what captured our minutes this week.
1. The violence in Orlando put even more attention on the gay community and the expression of "Love is Love.”
This added another level to this year’s celebrations. Pride was already meant to be a month of celebrations, conversations and considerations. In light of the massacre in early June, the parade was dedicated to the 49 individuals who were killed and 53 who were injured.
It further reinforced the love statement and gave a worthy example of how hate does not have to be responded to with hate. Most importantly, it further unified a global community of brothers and sisters against repeated discrimination and violence. If you need to know more about our thoughts on this, check out our Battle for Time June 5th edition.
2.Toronto Pride is also a source of Canadian Pride of our values - especially when there's so much decisiveness in the world.
The month long events along with the pinnacle parade remind us Canadians what it means to be Canadian citizens. What it means to be inclusive. What it means to openly discuss social issues. What actions are needed to really bring our Charter freedoms to life.
Make whatever stereotypical Canadian joke you want. This also isn't to gloss over the injustices that have occurred and still occur today - lots of social and institutional issues exist within our country and have slowed down parts of our progressive nature. But no nation is perfect. We’re proud of our reputation that strives to centre around openness, hospitality and individuality.
There’s really no better way to communicate this than a curated month of panels, art exhibits, screenings and more.
3. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history by marching in the parade.
Being the first ever sitting prime minister to attend the event is HUGE. Especially in light of the Donald Trump characters in this world (sips tea).
Political move or not, he very publicly communicated a message about his beliefs and did so without thinking twice. He put actions behind his words and came through on it. What have we been talking about for weeks? Authenticity. This is it.
Alexandra Williams, one of the co-founders of the group, articulated to the crowds that not all groups who identify under the LGBTQ banner have “made it to the point of queer liberation” and that consequently not all “communities who participate in Pride are actually able to be free in that celebration.”
Some people took issue with the demonstration, while others thought it pointed out some much needed empathy within the Pride Toronto celebrations.
Whether or not people took positively to it, they looked. They listened. They watched. Attention was brought to the matter. Controversy swallows up time because everyone has an opinion and they want to take the time to share it.
So overall, it was the context in which Pride took place, its history-making moments and the event's role as a platform in the communication of differing ideas that won this week’s Battle for Time.
At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.
What will win this week?