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Five ways to celebrate Pride at U of T

The Pride flag was raised today at the Varsity Centre as part of Pride Month celebrations (photo by Katie Babcock)

The Pride flag went up at U of T’s Varsity Centre on Bloor Street today, kicking off upcoming celebrations at the university for Toronto's second Pride Month.  

The flag signals U of T’s continued support for the LGBTQ+ community. The university’s internationally recognized Positive Space campaign, which raises the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community, was started 21 years ago. 

Ira Jacobs, dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE), Alex Malone, a Varsity Blues athlete, and Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president of human resources and equity, spoke at the flag raising. 

“Since 1999, the university’s Sexual and Gender Diversity Office and KPE have greatly expanded training, programs and events,” says Allison Burgess, the sexual & gender diversity officer with human resources and equity. “U of T also has so many LGBTQ+ student groups and has a long history of activism – the first on-campus LGBTQ+ association in Canada was created at U of T in 1969. So many campus departments and groups, including KPE, have worked to collaborate and increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.”

Among the many initiatives across the university, KPE has developed Athlete Ally, a Varsity Blues program committed to ending homophobia and transphobia in sport. The Faculty also started a student-led group that organizes inclusive initiatives throughout the year.

“By raising the flag high over Bloor Street, the Faculty and U of T are proud to recognize the beginning of Canada’s Pride month,” Jacobs said. “During the month of June, we will unite with other organizations along Bloor Street to celebrate our LGBTQ community.

“Not only does this event link to our academic mission and signify the beginning of Pride month, it also shows our dedication to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion at all levels – in research, education and our broad spectrum of co-curricular physical activity and sport programs, and student-driven initiatives.”

Here are some more events marking the month:

U of T Pride Pub
June 9
4-8 p.m. Community Fair and BBQ
8 p.m.-1 a.m. Dancing Under the Stars
Hart House Quad, 7 Hart House Circle
Learn about LGBTQ+ resources at our community fair, play games like giant Jenga, make buttons and listen to amazing music.
Featuring: Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers, Cozmic Cat (Cherry Bomb, Queer Nation) and Sammy Royale (Yes Yes Y’all) 
This is a family-friendly event. All ages until 9 p.m., 17+ after 9 p.m.

Display your Pride
June 22
8 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Show your creative flair and fabulous colours by decorating your office or student space in support of Pride. Be sure to tweet your photos with the #DisplayYourPride and #UofT hashtag (as well as your campus’ hastag: #UTSC, #UTM and #StG) and follow online. Don’t have a Twitter, Instagram or Facebook account? Send photos to sgdo@utoronto.ca, and it will be tweeted for you.

Pride Remembrance Run
June 24
10-11:30 a.m.
Corner of Church and Wellesley
The U of T Pride and Remembrance Run Team will hit the pavement in support of local LGBTQ+ charitable organizations. The 5km run (or 3km walk) circles twice around Queen’s Park Crescent (once for the walkers) and then finishes back at the corner of Church and Wellesley streets. 

Trans March, Dyke March and Pride Parade
June 23, 24 and 25
Represent the U of T community in Toronto’s Pride celebrations. Join the Trans March, Dyke March, Pride Parade, or all three. 

Check the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office website
Look for any updates to this month's Pride calendar. Students can also join the Equity Movement, a student-led group at KPE which organizes inclusive initiatives throughout the year.