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Local Celebs on WorldPride

Local Celebs on WorldPride

Brent Hawkes

Brenda Cossman

Professor of Law and Director, Bonham Center for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A: Definitely, the WorldPride Human Rights Conference.

WorldPride includes a human rights conference, and the Bonham Centre is thrilled to be hosting it. Human rights activists, lawyers, policy makers and academics from around the world will come to Toronto to converse on the state of LGBT human rights. It will be an incredibly exciting opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies for advancing LGBT rights around the globe.


Brent Hawkes

Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes

Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  It’s an amazing opportunity for Toronto to show the world the progress we’ve made in the area of GLBT human rights. Religious homophobia is the main opposition to LGBT human rights internationally and we have shown expertise in confronting it.

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  Experiencing more of the international flavour of the LGBT movement. We’ve become very inward focused at times and forget the international needs that exist.


Brendan_Healy

Brendan Healy

Artistic Director, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  It's an opportunity to recognize everything that we have achieved as a community, reflect on everything that we have lost and, most importantly, get a better understanding of how we fit within a global context. 

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  All the great artists who will be performing at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Q:  What do you think is Toronto's best-kept secret?

A:  Glad Day Books


Deb_Pearce

Deb Pearce

Radio/TV Host, Comedian and New Mom

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  It means that the rest of the world will be able to see what I already know - that Toronto is a beautiful, ecclectic, forward thinking city that welcomes and respects diversity. 

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  I'm most looking forward to enjoying the entertainment and meeting people from all around the world.


Gentleman_Reg

Gentleman Reg

Musician/Singer

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  It makes perfect sense. Toronto is an amazingly diverse multicultural city, and our Pride week is one of the best in the world. This will be a great way to showcase that, and hopefully elevate Toronto out of it's underdog status.

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  Well the added global attention for all our amazing local queer talent will be nice!

Q:  What do you think is Toronto's best-kept secret?

A:  My band Light Fires! But not for long!


Kamal_Al-Solaylee

Kamal Al-Solaylee

Author of Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes and Ryerson journalism professor

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  I want the whole world to know what a welcoming and progressive place Toronto is to the LGBT community. I dedicated my book to this city for giving me a home and I take pride in its evolution as one of the most gay-positive destinations in the world. 

Q:  What do you think is Toronto's best-kept secret?

A:  You can eat (and drink) on very little money in Toronto. It remains an incredibly affordable city, especially if you go outside the downtown core. If I were visiting from somewhere else, I’d venture out to the many little-known but yummy ethnic restaurants around Toronto and eat like royalty for twenty bucks. Ask a local for directions and recommendations.


Kristyn_Wong-Tam

KRISTYN WONG-TAM

Councillor, Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  Toronto's hosting WorldPride is not just an honour for the city, but also a reflection of the principles our community has been fighting for here for decades. Pride is a statement, a celebration, and a confirmation of what we stand. WorldPride is Toronto's turn to share this energy and history with the world and to say 'This is who we are and we welcome you with open arms - you belong here!"

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  I am most looking forward to seeing the streets overflowing in record numbers as Torontonians, Canadians, and international visitors cheer on our diverse community. Toronto's civic legacy is strong and I cannot wait to see our LGBTQ communities thrive under the spotlight of WorldPride.

Q:  What do you think is Toronto's best-kept secret?

A:  Toronto has an incredible network of parks and public spaces that are connected by dynamic and culturally-rich neighbourhoods throughout the downtown core. It really is one of the best things about Toronto living!


Lali_Mohamed

Lali Mohamed

Special Initiatives, The Stephen Lewis Foundation

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  I was sixteen years old my first pride. Ten years later, I’m looking forward to welcoming the world to Blockorama’s sixteenth birthday! For sixteen years, the Blackness Yes! Committee has been creating one of the most exciting and dynamic spaces in Canada to celebrate Black queer and Trans history, creativity and resistance. 

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  Despite its designation as the oldest surviving LGBT book-store in North America, Glad Day Book-store is still a hidden gem. Cuddled between Wellesley and Dundonald on Yonge St., the book-store houses some of our greats – Joseph Beam, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin – while also being home to a vibrant cabaret show celebrating local queer and Trans artists.


Lorraine_Segato

Lorraine Segato

Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  I am most looking forward to all the throngs of empowered party people dancing to our new remix for Rise Up! And also, half-naked women from around the world walking our streets arm in arm celebrating WorldPride! 

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  Toronto best kept secret for me is Toronto Islands. Great place to picnic with friends in a bucolic setting near water, beautiful trees and sand. Also, a great place to find a hot makeout spot amidst the green and the grass! I know-eth of what I speak!


Maggie Cassella

Maggie Cassella

Current events comic, producer, writer, actor, co-owner The Flying Beaver PubaretTM

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  Stress! As in how are we gonna pull this one off. And by we I don't mean me but even though I'm not involved in planning WorldPride my producer side automatically feels overwhelmed for the folks who are producing it. Of course I've also got a little proud feeling that Toronto was chosen to host. 

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  Showing off our diversity. And I mean that in every sense of the word. The city's diversity, the community's diversity, and the diversity of the programming.

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  Seriously? If I told you that…


Mike Chalut

Mike Chalut

TV and Radio Personality

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  Toronto is a world class city. A city where dreams come true, a city that allows people to be who they are and love who they want love. Our city was chosen to host WorldPride because our city is a leader in diversity. Our city welcomes all walks of life and wants everyone to feel and know that they are Somebody. I am beyond thrilled to watch, feel, and be apart of the excitement and millions of smiles that WorldPride will bring to our stage and home that we call Toronto! Celebrate being you for all the World to see - we are all very blessed xo 

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  Our city has the greatest ENERGY. When it comes to events the volunteers, the committees, the entertainers, and supporters really put their guts into making sure that we have one amazing party! I am thrilled to bits that the World is going to see how much Pride Toronto has and what a party we can throw!

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  Toronto really is a destination to dine. The Diverse culinary experiences in this city is one of the best in the world. The tastes. the smells, and the talented chefs that our city has makes us a true leader in the world of food. Weather you are downtown or uptown your palette will always be entertained.


Ryan_G_Hinds

Ryan G. Hinds

Performance Artist and Xtra Columnist

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  It’s a thrill to welcome WorldPride to Toronto. To me, it means that Toronto LGBTQs have got to be ready to show both visitors and locals what we’re made out of: soul, spectacle, sexiness, and smarts. The world is watching, and we will live up to that privilege!

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  I’m most looking forward to meeting new people. WorldPride is an amazing chance to engage with each other, and with people from the world over coming to Toronto we all have a chance to touch someone else’s life in a meaningful way.

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  Toronto’s best kept secret is our endurance. Just because last call is at 2 AM, it doesn’t mean we stop partying! The best way to spend WorldPride is to stay up until dawn; I guarantee you won’t be alone.


S_Bear_Bergman

S. Bear Bergman

Author and Educator
*Photo credit: Zoe Gemelli/zogemelli.com) 

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  I'm hoping we can use the opportunity to raise awareness about both the great work trans and genderqueer people here are doing toward justice and liberation, and also how far there is yet to go. 

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A:  Even more transpeeps will come to town, which means more interesting conversations and also more trans hotness - win/win.

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  If Toronto had a secret, we certainly couldn't keep it. I'm not saying we gossip, but...yes, actually, I am saying that. We gossip like our grandmas. We have a lot of love, but we have a lot of drama.


Salah_Bachir

Salah Bachir

Philanthropist and President of Cineplex Media

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  Having everybody here in Canada will give us a chance to show the world our accomplishments and what we’ve achieved. From programs for transgendered people to anti-bullying legislation to the 10th anniversary of gay marriage, plus the fact that we’ve been one of the world leaders in fighting AIDS, both in terms of research and overcoming stigma.

We’re also proud of developing such a strong LGBT culture via the arts — plays, books, visual arts, movies.

Ultimately, having WorldPride here in Toronto will shine the light on who we are.


Susan_Gapka

Susan Gapka

Community Activist, First Out Trans Person Elected to Toronto Pride Board

Q:  What does it mean to you for Toronto to be hosting WorldPride in 2014?

A:  I have been an outcast most of my life both pre and post transition more than 10 years ago. Now I have the good fortune of being on the Pride Toronto Board hosting WorldPride. This is one of life's miracles because I have learned nothing is fixed, nothing is certain and that anything is possible. 

Q:  What are you most looking forward to?

A: I love Toronto. I love Canada. I look forward to welcoming people from around the world to the City & country I love. My sense is they will fall in love with us as well.

Q:  What do you think is Toronto’s best-kept secret?

A:  Shhh, do not tell anyone - LGBTTIQ2SA live, work and play everywhere in Toronto - Scarborough, North York, East York, Etobicoke and even downtown...shhh...


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