Transgender Day flag raised in Toronto despite protests
By Chantilly Post
Toronto took part in the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance by raising a flag honouring victims of trans-phobia at City Hall on Thursday.
People across North America remember those who were killed due to prejudice or anti-transgender hatred.
TDoR began following the 1998 death of Rita Hester in Boston, a transgender woman who was murdered in her apartment. Her murder and lack of media attention triggered a candlelight vigil in San Francisco the next year.
Despite a minor set back in the raising of the flag yesterday, Toronto Star reported that protestors stole the flag just before it was being raised. When the flag was at its half-mark a physical dispute began with people accusing others of being disrespectful.
Former MPP George Smitherman, who is openly gay, spoke at the ceremony.
He said an event like this is long overdue.
“I don’t think it’s about what a government can do, it’s about what a society can do,” Smitherman said in a telephone interview.
He quoted Reverend Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto saying:
“Those of us in the gay community or the queer community need to do our part to make sure that we are trying to assist the trans community in making progress and achieving equality.”
Mayor-elect John Tory attended the raising of the flag, which Smitherman said was incredibly powerful.
“It was symbolic of a changing of the guard at Toronto City Hall,” Smitherman said.