Last week I attended a celebration where we opened Pride Month in Toronto (June) in the OPS (the Ontario Public Service). The event was sponsored by the Pride Network within the OPS, a group of LGBTQ public servants who have come together to encourage each other professionally and socially. We’ve been having these celebrations for a number of years, and I try to head downtown to take pictures. This year was no exception. Although Minister Kathleen Wynne has attended most of those years, this was her first appearance as premier.
It was an excellent presentation. We had several speakers, including Kerry Pond and Paul Genest, both of our executive sponsors for the Pride Network. Peter Wallace was also there, the Secretary of the Cabinet… and the man who leads the OPS. And, of course, Ms. Wynne. So it was quite the opportunity to see a number of the civil servant leadership for the province in one place: and to have them all supporting a cause I think is important.
Steve Paikin also commented; he attended and tweeted a number of reflections, which were, indeed, some of the more poignant elements of Ms. Wynne’s speech. He composed a blog a few days later, where he described the event as, for one moment, “Taking a Break from Politics”. Premier Wynne talked about the first time she attended an event like this, many years ago, when there were only a handful of people who came by: and (as you can see from my pictures on Flickr) it is now a substantial gathering. We’ve been expanding to the different parts of Ontario as well; I usually attend the parade in Peterborough in September, and this is the first year for Thunder Bay Pride as well.
But I was most impressed by her comments about her orientation. When she was first running for the leadership of the party, there were a few of them; she is our first openly lesbian premier and although the province is very tolerant, there were still a few people who had issue. But she also described how many questions she’s had since she achieved the leadership, and the answer was surprising. At least for me, with my background from Arkansas.