Celebrating Pride at the University of Toronto

Date: June 6, 2019
To: University of Toronto Community Members
From: Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity

Pride Month at the University of Toronto offers an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment with respect to equity, diversity and inclusion to all members of our community.

The raising of the Pride and Trans flags, along with other campus events, promotes necessary LGBTQ+ visibility, celebrates our differences, and emphasizes our support and allyship with our queer and trans communities. It is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions of the LGBTQ+ communities to campus life.

The Pride Flag is a well-recognized symbol of the LGBTQ+ community all over the world. It was first raised in San Francisco in 1978 and the meaning of its colours changes depending on where in the world the flag is flown. It has also expanded to become more inclusive over the years.

On June 28, 2019, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies initiated a series of demonstrations against police raids targeted at the community. This served as a catalyst for LGBTQ+ activism and the gay rights movement in the US and around the world.

As we raise the Pride and Trans flags above the Varsity Centre, I would like to invite all of you to reflect on the diversity of our community. Faculty, librarians, staff and students from Canada and all over the world come to U of T to learn, work and live, and some may join us from places that do not allow the freedom to embrace their identities. It is our responsibility to ensure our community is inclusive, representative, welcoming and supportive. As we see symbols of pride raised throughout our community, let us pause to remember and reflect on the progress we have made and the work ahead.

One of the University’s leading champions in this area is the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO). This year the SGDO is celebrating their 20th anniversary, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Allison Burgess and David Pereira for their leadership, and Kathy Vi Mac and other members of this office for their contributions. They are a valuable resource and support for so many people in our community and the institution.

On behalf of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, I would like to invite all of U of T to join us at the U of T Pride Pub on Friday, June 7 in the Hart House Quad.  There will be a community fair to learn about LGBTQ+ resources, a BBQ, a photobooth, button-making, as well as face painting and other activities for kids. I look forward to seeing all of you there, and wish all of you a very Happy Pride.