At Torys, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a celebrated core strength, and we are a dedicated ally of the LGBTQ2S+ community. We are proud of the diverse and inclusive values we uphold.
Pride Month is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how far we’ve come and the work that still needs to be done in fostering an equitable and inclusive society for everyone.
This past year, the Canadian LGBTQ2S+ community has achieved a significant milestone as Canada has officially banned conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a practice aimed at changing or repressing an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Treatments range from talk and behavioral therapy to medical treatments, which have already been discredited by the UN, World Health Organization and Amnesty International. The practice harms and further stigmatizes the LGBTQ2S+ community and reflects myths and stereotypes that their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is wrong and can be “cured”. This is Canada’s third attempt at banning conversion therapy nationally and the bill went farther than previous versions by embedding it into the criminal code.
As we celebrate this momentous achievement, we must not forget the ongoing challenges the LGBTQ2S+ community faces every day. That is why we are proud to donate to Rainbow Railroad, a global not-for-profit organization that helps LGBTQ2S+ people facing persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. In a time when there are more displaced people than ever before, LGBTQ2S+ people are uniquely vulnerable due to systemic, state-enabled homophobia and transphobia.
Our LGBTQ2S Affinity Group has helped to create a supportive and collegial environment at the Firm. Members of the LGBTQ2S+ group participate in recruiting, education, awareness-building and other internal initiatives, as well as fundraising, networking and other external activities.
In addition to our recent pro bono work mentioned above, our track record of legal work demonstrating our commitment to the LGBTQ2S+ community includes representing groups such as the Canadian AIDS Society, the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, and the Foundation for Equal Families.
Other initiatives we are involved in include:
In 2016 Torys joined other law firms and private sector parties to support the establishment of the Egale Centre—Canada’s first and Toronto’s only transitional housing facility exclusively dedicated to serving homeless LGBTQ2S+ youth.
Torys is also a member of the Pride at Work and Out on Bay Street organizations, participating in several of their events each year.
Torys is an active member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN) and collaborates with a community of thought leaders to improve inclusivity and diversity, both within practice and the community.
For those participating in or attending the various events across our cities, we wish you a happy Pride!