Mayor Rob Ford attends the flag raising event in Nathan PhillipsSquare. (CBC) The mayor of Canada’s most populous city won cheers Thursday as hemade an unexpected appearance at a rainbow flag-raising markingInternational Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The group behind the event Parents, Families and Friends ofLesbians and Gays had initially said Toronto’s Rob Ford haddeclined their invitation to the ceremony, a move they saw as alost opportunity for the mayor. But in a surprise showing, Ford appeared just as the ceremony gotunderway and took to the podium to read a proclamation againsthomophobia. CDMA GSM Cell Phones
“Toronto is a society open to everyone,” said the mayor, “includingthe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, two-spirit and transsexualLGBT community, who are an important part of this city’sdiversity.” With a rainbow flag flying overhead, Ford added that Toronto was anactive participant in the fight for the elimination of all forms ofdiscrimination and was committed to equal treatment of all people. He then received a cheer from the crowd as he hoisted a framed copyof the proclamation he had signed. The mayor’s appearance was significant as he has been accused ofhomophobia by some due to his decision not to attend Toronto’sPride Parade since he has taken office. Ford has already said he will be skipping this year’s parade as hewill be at his family’s cottage for the Canada Day holiday weekend,which is when the country’s largest gay rights parade takes place. It’s the same reason he gave for missing last year’s parade acontroversial move which drew much criticism. China Quad Band Smartphones
Thursday’s flag-raising ceremony was a LGBTQ outreach event whichwas not part of the city’s Pride Week festivities. The mayor’s appearance was so unexpected that organizers had saidall morning that Ford had indicated he was unavailable. Coun. GordPerks was getting ready to read the proclamation before Ford showedup. Wifi Enabled Mobile Phones
“I do thank the mayor for having taken the time to join us,” saidIrene Miller, president of PFLAG Toronto, adding that Ford and theother city councillors present had shown “tremendous support.” “We truly appreciate that you have taken the time to be heretoday,” Miller said. “We cannot get our message out there alone,but together we can make that message heard all across this city.” A spokesman for Pride Toronto also singled out Ford’s presencewhile addressing the crowd, and included the mayor in an expressionof gratitude for anti-homophobia messages. “Thank you all for the work you do each and every day inconfronting, challenging and stopping homophobia and transphobia,”said Luka Amona. “Today we find strength in each other, we reaffirm our goal ineliminating homophobia and transphobia.” While Ford has said he will be skipping the city’s Pride Paradethis summer, he said he may stop by other Pride Week eventsdepending on his schedule.
Toronto’s Pride Week runs from June 22 to July 1. Former city mayors David Miller, Mel Lastman and Barbara Hall allmarched in the parade, which attracts hundreds of thousands ofpeople each year and brings millions of dollars into Toronto’seconomy.