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History Of Pride
Select a year to see photos and memories from past pride weeks in York Region.
Proclamations
In 2006, Pride week was again granted official recognition by York Region. It was also proclaimed by all municipalities, except King Township which had introduced a 'no proclamations' policy in 2004.
York Region Map: A=Aurora, EG=East Gwillimbury, G=Georgina, K=King, M=Markham, N=Newmarket, RH=Richmoond Hill, V=Vaughan, W-S=Whitchurch-Stouffville
June 12th-18th, 2006
Stop Hate Crimes Special Project
Bashing is a crime. Determined to make a difference for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Queer and Questioning (LGBTIQQ) victims of abuse, Marilyn Byers on behalf of PFLAG Canada-York Region and with the full support of York Regional Police, applied for an Ontario Government special project grant. The STOP HATE CRIMES PROJECT was approved by the Ministry of the Attorney General, Ontario Victim Services Secretariat.
With assistance from a dedicated group of volunteers, Byer's vision evolved, becoming a multi-faceted project which ran from January to June 2006 and included a Support Group for LGBTIQQ victims/survivors of abuse, an informational web site, posters, brochures, and billboard/transit shelter ads that appeared throughout York Region displaying the slogans, "Someone You know and Love is Gay" and "Being Gay or Lesbian is NOT a Crime, Bashing IS."
Byers stated that "even one victim is one too many". Statistics show that 1/3 of teenage completed suicides are due to sexual orientation and 40% of street kids have been kicked out of their home because of their sexual orientation.
In addition to this special project, PFLAG Canada-York Region makes speakers available for community groups and schools and hosts regular monthly meetings where families and friends of LGBTIQQ people come to find support and information about sexual orientation and gender identity. All are welcome.
Walk For Equality
York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge joined students of Newmarket High School on their fourth annual "Walk For Equality". The five-kilometre walk around the College Manor area raised money and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, an organization helping children with AIDS in Africa. Students paid $2 to participate and raised nearly $300 for the cause.
One student remarked that many people, adults as well as students, discriminate without even knowing it. His comments were made as students prepared for a sweltering walk in 30°C heat to raise awareness in the community about discrimination and the need for equality.
Students made and carried placards emblazoned with phrases, such as "Be the change you want to see in the world," a quote from Mahatma Ghandi and "Everyone question unfair intolerance toward you," spelling out the acronym EQUITY.The annual Walk for Equity also helps students realize that the treatment of people with different backgrounds or sexual orientation can sometimes be a tricky issue that must be handled with understanding, compassion and respect.
A Year Of Change
At the end of 2005, the 'Pride York Region' organization ceased operations due to an inability to attract new volunteers. Prior to that, the 'Gay and Lesbian Association of York Region' (GLAYR) had also decided to disband for similar reasons. As these two organizations had played a vital role in the organization of Pride Week activities, no pride events could be organized in 2006 in their absence. However in the same year, several new organizations were formed and began to take over some of the roles of their predecessors.
Most notably, in January 2005, the Ontario Trillium Foundation had agreed to fund the 'York Region Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Community Outreach Project', by awarding a grant of $268,000. This project is a co-partnership between Addiction Services York Region and Family Services York Region. It is a four-year project, supported by an advisory committee that strives to coordinate all of the region's LGBT service providers in order to to maximize their effectiveness. The success of this project was subsequently a key ingredient that enabled the launch of 'York Pride Fest' in 2007.
At the start of 2006, the GayYorkRegion.com web site was launched to provide an interactive communication medium linking LGBT residents and service providers, and to take over some of the roles of the former Pride York Region organization. Later in the same year, this web site formed a social group which regularly organizes events at various locations across the region.