Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau marched in Canada’s largest Pride parade on Sunday.
Trudeau was casually dressed in a blue blazer and pink shirt, waving to the thousands of people who lined both sides of the parade route down Yonge Street.
His wife waved a rainbow flag, one of the symbols of the LGBTQ community.
Trudeau became the first sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade during last year’s event. This year he was joined by other dignitaries, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde.
It was the first time a national chief has participated in a Pride event.
“When you think of it historically, there were two-spirited people amongst our tribes and nations long ago and they were highly regarded, highly respected,” Bellegarde told CBC News Network this morning.
“They were our medicine people, they were ceremonial leaders — and as we’ve always said, there’s no closet in teepees.”
Generally, ‘two-spirited’ is a term that refers to an Indigenous person who can draw on both male and female energies, but its meaning can change in various contexts.
After contact with European settlers, the influence of the Christian church prevented many two-spirited Indigenous people from embracing themselves.
Bellegarde admits that today prejudices persist both on and off reserves. He hopes his participation in the Pride march will encourage all two-spirited Indigenous people, as well as their communities, to live a fulfilling life.
“We have to get back again to holding them in high regard,” he said. “Education and awareness leads to understanding, and that leads to action.”
Toronto’s long-running Pride festival draws huge crowds to the downtown area each year to celebrate the…