Canadian Prime Minister and queer ally Justin Trudeau is totally making us miss having a national leader who actually defends LGBTQ rights.
This past Sunday, June 23, the PM took to the streets of Toronto for the city’s Pride march, which remains one of North America’s largest Pride celebrations. As The Independent reports, he led the parade while waving a rainbow Pride flag and greeting crowds.
Before joining the festivities, Trudeau gave a rousing speech to Pride-goers, acknowledging the importance of political figures turning out—and standing up—for the LGBTQ community.
“As Prime Minister, I think it’s important not just for everyone who is out here today celebrating, but to the people at home—young people especially who are still worried about coming out,” he told the crowd, adding that “this message—that politicians of all different stripes are out to support them, that the country takes to the streets across Pride Month and at Pride events, to support our friends in the LGBT+ communities, that we are all allies—continues to be an important message here in Canada, and of course, around the world ever more so.”
Trudeau also retweeted a message in support of Canada’s queer community from Mélanie Joy, Canada’s Minister of Tourism.
In our country everyone can be proud of who they are and can be who they want to be. Through pride celebrations, we celebrate the power and beauty of diversity by enabling our #LGBTQ2️ communities to shine. #Pride2019 pic.twitter.com/XlS2ELK6DA
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) June 23, 2019
He also kikied with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 runner-up and fellow Canadian Brooke Lynn Hytes, who shared an adorable video of the pair to Twitter.
@JustinTrudeau ❤️ pic.twitter.com/d8ltdzXc8G
— Brooke Lynn Hytes (@Bhytes1) June 23, 2019
Though Canada at large is widely regarded as a queer-friendly country, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, Trudeau issued a historic apology to queer Canadians in November 2017 for the nation’s now-obsolete “gross indecency law,” which was historically used to persecute LGBTQ people. He also became the first PM in Canadian history to march in a Pride celebration back in 2016.
The city of Toronto, too, has seen its fair share of anti-LGBTQ violence. In particular, residents were shocked by a string of horrific murders of men who frequented Toronto’s Gay Village. The serial killer in question, 67-year-old Bruce McArthur, plead guilty to eight counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison this February.