Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne marked the start of Toronto's World Pride week by praising Ontario for its inclusiveness and making an off-script joke about lesbians going camping during a Pride flag-raising ceremony on Monday.
Wynne — who led her Liberals to an unexpected majority in a provincial election on June 12 — was introduced as "the first openly gay elected head of government in the Commonwealth."
After officially raising the Pride flag at Queen's Park, Wynne spoke about progress made in moving toward equal rights for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgendered people in Ontario.
Wynne spoke about how her partner Jane Rounthwaite joined her on the campaign trail and the couple were warmly greeted in "every part of the province."
Despite this, Wynne said there are "many battles to be fought." She mentioned meeting a 78-year-old woman who told the premier she didn't feel comfortable coming out to her family.
"I want that no child growing up today has to wait until they're 78 to make that statement to his or her family or community," said Wynne.
"Even in parts of our city, there are communities that have no idea that this celebration is going on, although that's probably not as much the case now as it was a few years ago," she said. "Young people living in those communities don't have the same permission to be who they are and talk to their families and their friends about who they are."
While reading a speech about recent government initiatives to create more inclusive spaces, she stopped when she came to some lines about how certain provincial parks and campgrounds are employing "positive space champions" for gay patrons. When she came to the word "camping," a few chuckles arose from the crowd, prompting Wynne to laugh herself and veer off-script.
"OK, there are so many lesbian and gay jokes there I can't even begin," she said. "Who's going camping? We're going camping! The lesbians are going camping!"
The ceremony helped kick off World Pride, which Toronto is hosting this year.