Toronto Public Library Celebrates Pride Throughout June
This time of year is usually marked with large festivals and events celebrating Pride across our city. In light of the current pandemic, these festivities will look quite different this year, with a number of organizations creating unique and innovative ways to celebrate Pride in a virtual environment. I am pleased to announce that TPL will also be celebrating Pride throughout the month of June and supporting all members of our LGBTQ2S+ communities in a virtual environment.
Beginning in April 2020, a group of TPL employees from across the organization came together and established a small work group to develop a suite of virtual Pride programming, events and activities for the month of June for a variety of audiences including children, teens and adults. These activities amplify the voices and celebrate the accomplishments of LGBTQ2S+ communities, and highlight the LGBTQ2S+ programs, services, supports and materials TPL offers all year long.
We kicked off the month last Friday, with the annual wrapping of the Yorkville pillars in the rainbow colours of Pride. And today, we launch our series of programs, booklists and activities that will run throughout the month. Visit tpl.ca/pride to see the whole line-up, and follow us on our social media channels to engage in the many activities we have planned as we move the month’s celebrations online.
I understand that the launch of these programs comes at a time when there is still hurt and concern among the LGBTQ2S+ community as a result of the third-party room booking that took place at the Palmerston Branch last October. I had hoped to have made more progress on addressing these concerns and building bridges between TPL and these communities by the time we reached Pride celebrations in June. We were working with our LGBTQ2S+ employee group (Pride Alliance) and LGBTQ2S+ staff prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to plan a series of consultations with the community throughout Spring 2020. The current State of Emergency has caused us to pause these engagements.
I want to reiterate my commitment to listening to and working with, in particular, the trans community to build a path forward that will inform TPL’s LGBTQ2S+ Service Plan and ultimately rebuild bridges of trust and understanding. We are still committed to taking up this work again once the State of Emergency has been lifted.
In the meantime, all of us at TPL feel that it is important to recognize and celebrate Pride in the best ways we can, given the circumstances. I’d like to congratulate and thank the TPL Pride Month Working Group for establishing such a strong roster of programming and activities to celebrate Pride in our own unique virtual way.