Home » Scarborough Pride Toronto event first one ever in Canada for Tamils

Scarborough Pride Toronto event first one ever in Canada for Tamils

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A Pride celebration in Scarborough on Sunday, June 19 is the first-ever Tamil queer event in Canada.

It is also the beginning of something much bigger, a movement to educate and “decolonize” the largest Tamil community outside South Asia.

Before the Queer Tamil Collective (QTC) formed, that huge community had not had LGBTQ+ groups specific to Tamils, says Angel Glady, a host of the celebration at Scarborough Museum in Thomson Memorial Park from 5 to 9 p.m.

“All the queer and trans folks were still struggling to come out. At the community level, they weren’t well accepted,” she said.

“This is the beginning of our advocacy among the Tamil community to get themselves educated about it, to understand we all exist,” said Angel Glady, an Indian Tamil trans woman who never uses her last name.

An activist who immigrated to Canada four years ago, she said she chose the name Angel when she transitioned and kept Glady, her given name from childhood, as part of her first name.

Queer people are often called Westernized in Tamil media, and trans women mocked as comic figures, though traditionally Tamil culture and mythology includes same-sex love, she said.

The Tamil community has lost awareness of this because it was deeply affected by colonization, said Angel Glady. “We need to uncolonize ourselves and see our roots.”

Members came together to form QTC to protest Canadian director Deepa Metha’s 2020 film “Funny Boy,” which Angel Glady called “a huge misrepresentation” of the worldwide Tamil queer community and Tamil community as well. (Angel Glady has a more favourable opinion of Scarborough filmmaker Lenin M. Sivam’s movie “Roobha,” but said Sivam should have cast a trans woman in the title role.)

Believing the “Funny Boy” campaign to be successful, the QTC members wanted to do more, and chose Scarborough Museum for its inaugural Pride event because Scarborough is at the heart of the Canadian Tamil community, Angel Glady said.

People at the free celebration can dance to a DJ, and enjoy different foods and a marketplace. They can also sign a QTC banner for the Pride March — which will be on exhibit at Scarborough Museum for three months afterwards — or try other art projects, including button-making.

The buttons may display what pronouns participants use (Angel Glady is OK with she/her or they/them), or say “Ask my pronouns.”

Not everybody does ask, said Angel Glady. “We need to make that a practice.”

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