- July 2, 2014
HRC's Associate Director of Global Engagement Rebecca Parks joined activists and LGBT citizens from around the world last week to address the World Pride Human Rights Conference in Toronto, Ontario. She spoke about HRC's research work on the export of hate by American extremists to countries such as Russia and Uganda. Rebecca was joined on her panel by and Olena Semenova and Tudor Kovacs activists from Ukraine and Romania who spoke about the challenges of organizing visibility and other forms of LGBT activism in eastern Europe.
World Pride is a global celebration held every few years. This was the first time that World Pride was held in North America. The week's rainbow-saturated celebration in Toronto featured parades, speeches, concerts and rallies with over a million visitors flooding the streets of Canada's largest city.
The Human Rights Conference was the first event of its kind at a World Pride. Advocates and academics from around the world gathered to address issues of concern to the world LGBT community. Highlights of the conference included addresses from the world's first gay head of state, Iceland's Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her wife Jónína Leósdóttir as well as a plenary session with Ugandan actvist Frank Mugisha. Rebecca's panel concluded with a call to action for our partners in the international community -- if you see something, say something. If an American exporter of intolerance appears in your country or community, let us know and we can help provide a toolkit and strategy to push back.
Other members of HRC's global engagement team, including director Ty Cobb and our international fellows also visited Canada for the World Pride events. The week concluded with a massive parade through Toronto's streets that even featured a rainbow bursting across the sky in celebration.
The next World Pride will be held in 2017 in Madrid.