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Toronto kicks off Pride month with flag-raising ceremony

Last Updated Jun 4, 2019 at 11:02 pm EDT

People march during the annual Toronto Pride Parade on July 3, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Toronto Mayor John Tory kicked off Pride month Tuesday with the raising of the rainbow and transgender flags at City Hall.

He was joined by fellow council members and representatives of Pride Toronto.

“There is still far too many people who are experiencing discrimination and intolerance and hate in the city,” Tory said.

“And that is one of the reasons, one of the many reasons why proclaiming the Pride month and this flag-raising are necessary, as well as being enjoyable, celebratory events. They’re necessary events to have in our city each year as a statement as to who we are.”

The event also recognized the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, which is credited by some as sparking the LGBTQ movement.

The 2019 edition of the Pride parade will be held on June 23.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he won’t be attending the parade. He said he will only do so when organizers allow front-line police officers to participate again in uniform.

Uniformed officers were banned from marching in the parade in 2017 after concerns of racial profiling, and Pride members narrowly voted in January to keep the ban in place this year.

Despite the ban the rainbow flag was also raised at Toronto Police headquarters Tuesday.

“Inclusion is what helps us become stronger, inclusion is what helps make this city the greatest city to live in,” Chief Mark Saunders told 680 NEWS. “So when we talk about the LGBT’Q+ community and the work that has been done, its safe to say that there’s a whole lot more work to be done and the keys to our success will be active listening.”

The relationship between police and the LGBTQ+ community has been fractured over how police handled the case of serial killer Bruce McArthur, who was convicted of first degree murder of eight men with ties to the gay community.

Toronto Mayor John Tory at the Pride flag-raising at Toronto City Hall, June 4, 2019. MARK DOUGLAS/680 NEWS
Toronto Mayor John Tory with Pride Toronto board member Christin Milloy at the Pride flag-raising at Toronto City Hall, June 4, 2019. MARK DOUGLAS/680 NEWS
Toronto Mayor John Tory with Pride Toronto board member Christin Milloy at the Pride flag-raising at Toronto City Hall, June 4, 2019. MARK DOUGLAS/680 NEWS

With files from The Canadian Press