By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood
It seems our neighbors to the north have a leg up on WeHo in the Gay Pride department.
Organizers announced that WorldPride, a 10-day festival that ran June 20-29 was a tremendous success.
The WorldPride 2014 event, held in Toronto, presented by Pride Toronto, and featured ten days of queer celebration turned “streets into parades, parks into parties and strangers into friends.”
The highlight of the festival was the international celebration incorporating activism, education, and the history and culture of global gay communities. Highlighting Canada’s continued progress in human rights, WorldPride also celebrated the diversity and dynamism of Toronto, one of the world’s most progressive and livable cities.
Over 400 hundred delegates from more than 50 countries attended to hear with 180 speakers scheduled.
The delegates came from some of the countries in the news today as oppressive toward their gay citizens, including Russia, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to be part of the WorldPride Human Rights Conference from June 25-27. The conference is featuring issues from “activism, refugees, families and resurgent efforts to repress burgeoning LGBT rights movement.”
According to Brenda Cossman, the director of the University of Toronto’s Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, a co-sponsor of the event, the conference had been sold out for weeks. “The conference is set in the middle of the joyous celebration of Pride as a reminder that the struggle for LGBT acceptance is still an issue,” he said.
Also there to support the conference was Jat Katz. “It’s important now because so much has happened in the past couple of years,” said Mr. Katz, LGBT Giving co-chair. “We’ve had the [anti-gay] laws in Uganda, we’ve had gay marriage on the agenda in the United States, we’ve had the [anti-gay] laws in Russia.”
There are 11 countries that execute homosexuals. There are several score more countries that look the other way when – or are actively involved in – abuse of gay people.
“Acceptance is a long, long ways away in many countries where pride parades and marches aren’t even considered,” Pride Toronto co-chair Sean Hillier said. “A very large aspect of this festival will revolve around human rights, and we will continue to see that moving forward..
West Hollywood has been trying to come up with ways to adapt to the new realities of the past few years, but residents do not see its relevance.
this year Mayor John D’Amico hosted three openly gay mayors from around the country to discuss their challenges and blessings.
Still, according to the Buzzfeed, Uganda has started to tighten up on their Anti-Homosexuality Act by restricting the activities of one of the country’s largest human rights organizations, The Refugee Law Project.
The Project acts as a liaison between the Ugandan organizations opposing the anti-gay law The prime minister’s office has been investigating the organization since mid-March for “promoting homosexuality.”
Currently the Anti-Homosexuality Act criminalized advocating LGBT rights and gives a life sentence for homosexuality.