IDAHOT Report 2015: Canada

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In North Vancouver local authorities marked the day officially by flying the rainbow flag after activists petitioned for their council to take action for May 17th.

In British Columbia LGBTI youth group Out In Schools ran their regular Rise Against Homophobia film competition, in which young people ages 12 to 19 were invited to create and share short films tackling the subjects of homophobia, transphobia and bullying.

In Quebec the Fondation Emergence this year worked with several partner organisations to encourage allies of every background to ‘show their colours’ in support of LGBT Canadians. During the campaign individuals from all backgrounds worse special colourful outfits and also shared messages of support with the LGBTI community.

In Toronto the Canadian-Asian LGBT group PinkDot Toronto helped to bring together people from various LGBTI and Asian backgrounds. Their celebrations for the day featured a pride march and outdoor event that included street food, activities and a unique celebration of the Asian culture. The event aimed to tackle issues faced by Canadian-Asian LGBTI individuals and was held in the city’s Chinatown District.

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The event was also in solidarity of Pink Dot’s broader work, promoting the advancement of LGBT groups within Asia.

Also in Toronto city mayor John Tory alongside local authorities and activists marked the day by raising the rainbow flag above City Hall at a special event organised by the Canadian branch of PFLAG.

MaScreen Shot 2015-06-18 at 10.31.37ny local events marked the Day throughout the country: In Vancouver for example activists gathered for the annual IDAHOT breakfast, where the focus was on LGBT refugees. The event, organised by local LGBT support centre Qmunity, saw activists and experts gather for a morning of discussion and celebration to mark the day. Another example comes from Woodstock, Ontario, where the local LGBT alliance organised a march

As part of the event activists recognised the important work being done in Canada on the subject of LGBT immigration and the issues facing many refugees across the world. During the event Andrea Reimer, of the Vancouver City Council, discussed her experience within both a political and personal context, including her experience raising a transgender child.

As well as recognising the important ongoing work seen within Canada organisers hoped that the event would help to foster cooperation among several groups to advocate for the empowerment and advancement of LGBT refugees and immigrants across the world.

The event cooincided with the Pride Legacy Awards, which was held to recognise the positive work being done by Canadian LGBT groups and activists to end homophobia, transphobia and all forms of sexual and gender discrimination.

Both events came shortly before the announcement of this year’s ‘Strut’ fundraiser, which is being organised by the Foundation of Hope. The event, which aims to raise funds for services aimed at LGBT refugees, will see activists and campaigners of all genders and backgrounds wear their best high-heels and glamorous shoes as part of a unique sponsored walk.

Support was also seen in national politics from a number of individuals. Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued an official statement marking IDAHOT 2015. His sentiment was echoed by a number of party members, as well as several politicians across the political spectrum.

Canada also helped to promote the day on a major international scale. Through the country’s embassies and foreign consulates the country supported IDAHOT events in countries across the world, on every continent. Diplomats in countries including Tunisia, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Morocco and many more, marked the day with actions ranging from statements of support to public events and workshops.

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