We at Torys are proud to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for members of the LGBT+ community both within and outside of our firm. Whether it be our LGBT Lawyers Group or our support for establishments and initiatives such as the Egale Centre and Out On Bay Street, diversity is a celebrated core strength of Torys and we are a dedicated ally of the LGBT+ community.
Pride Month is an opportune time to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go in fostering a universally respectful, accepting and diverse society. Over the past year, we have made significant progress in the elimination of barriers to equal rights for LGBT people:
- in June 2016, the Pentagon did away with the ban on transgender people serving openly in the US military removing one of the last remaining barriers to LGBT participation in the US armed forces
- the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro saw a record number of Olympians from the LGBT community compete with at least 41 openly lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes participating
- in November 2016, Kate Brown became the governor of Oregon, officially making her the highest-ranking LGBT person elected to office in the country
- on March 1, 2017, same-sex adoption became legal in Finland
- in April 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau’s special advisor on LGBT issues announced that Canadians who were forced out of the military and public service because of their sexual identity would receive an apology from the government before 2019
- on June 2, Leo Varadkar was elected leader of the Fine Gael party and is slated to become Ireland’s first-ever openly gay Prime Minister later this month
Despite the many recent momentous milestones, ongoing challenges regarding basic rights and freedom for the LGBT community still exist worldwide:
- in the US this year more than 70 bills proposing to roll back LGBT rights, block transgender people from using the restrooms of their choice or allow denial of service to LGBT people on religious grounds have been introduced in nearly 24 states
- the US Department of Education has reversed civil rights protections for transgender kids
- the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is removing sexual orientation and gender identity from the 2020 national census so there will be no data collection on the needs of LGBT Americans
- over the past year approximately 100 gay men in Chechnya have been tortured in concentration camps because of their sexual identity
- LGBT relationships are still illegal in 74 countries around the world and punishable by death in 10
To celebrate the steps forward, Torys and Union Gas will host our annual Pride reception in the Toronto office on June 20. All are welcome!
Some of the pride events near Torys offices are listed below:
- Toronto: Pride Month in Toronto takes place from June 1-June 25. The Trans Pride March is on June 23, the Dyke March is on June 24, and the Pride Parade is on June 25.
- New York: Pride New York is June 16-25 with the Pride March on Sunday, June 25.
- Halifax: The Halifax Pride Festival is July 20-30 and the Parade is on Saturday, July 22.
- Montréal: Canada Pride Montréal is August 10-20 and the LGBTA Parade is on Sunday, August 20.
- Calgary: Pride Calgary is August 25-September 4. The Pride Parade is on Sunday, September 3.
For those participating in or attending the various events across our cities, we wish you an enjoyable Pride 2017.