On November 28th I attended the launch of the “PrideHouse TO 2015”, preparing for the 2015 Pan/Para-Pan Am Games here in Toronto (The Star, 2014). Pavilions have been a tradition in multi-sport games for many years: they are places were athletes and spectators can gather, and where communities can celebrate their unique diversity. The first pavilion organized around LGBTQ inclusion was in the 2010 Olympic Games; the plan is to expand that initiative. PrideHouse TO is housed at The 519 Community Centre, in the heart of Toronto’s gay village and easily accessible to visitors.
There were a number of speakers, who effectively described the current effort by queer athletes to be known as themselves in their sports. It’s an effort that has been a long time coming; I have not been heavily involved in sport in my life, though I’ve had my moments. Part of the reason was because of the difficulty I had reconciling who I was in my younger days with who I was supposed to be. I am glad that so many athletes today are able to be comfortable in their sport with whoever they are, and to be up front and honest about that reality. Yet many are not, and that is goal we need to have as individuals and a culture.
The event was quite crowded; it was hard to take pictures and I hope some of the intesity of the activity comes across in the photos at right. (There are more on my Flickr page.) There were a number of partners represented. Athletes Kris Burley and Rosie Cossar hosted the event. Kristyn Wong-Tam is from Toronto’s City Council and Glen Murray is the province’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Several others spoke, and my friend David Morris is official PrideHouseTO French spokesperson.