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Gay Soldiers Join
Canadian Pride Parade

Gay Soldiers Join
Canadian Pride Parade

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces marched in yesterday's Toronto Pride parade for the first time, Ontario's Owen Sound Sun Timesreports. According to Toronto Pride executive director Fatima Amarshi, the Armed Forces initiated their participation in the event. Amarshi told the Times, "We're all familiar with stories of lesbians and gays in the military and the struggle they've had. So for the military to turn around and recognize its soldiers, the diversity within its ranks and the need to have a presence at Pride means a tremendous amount."

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces marched in yesterday's Toronto Pride parade for the first time, Ontario's Owen Sound Sun Timesreports. According to Toronto Pride executive director Fatima Amarshi, the Armed Forces initiated their participation in the event. Amarshi told the Times, "We're all familiar with stories of lesbians and gays in the military and the struggle they've had. So for the military to turn around and recognize its soldiers, the diversity within its ranks and the need to have a presence at Pride means a tremendous amount." In early June, Hamilton's Gay Pride festival banned the Armed Forces because of alleged human rights violations, the Timesreports. The gay community reacted with outrage, insisting that the military had changed since dropping its anti-homosexuality policies in 1992. "Different members of our community have all kinds of different opinions on the military and they will make sure they are heard quite loudly," Amarshi told the Times. Warrant Officer John McDougal attended yesterday's parade in Toronto. "It's a huge thing for me personally," he said. "To be able to be in public and be recognized not just for being a solder, but for being a soldier who happens to be gay is amazing." Openly gay, McDougal has served in the military for 13 years. (The Advocate)

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