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Justin Trudeau marches at Montreal Pride alongside Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister and his partner

By Will Stroude

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put on a characteristic show of support for equality after marching alongside Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Montreal Pride this weekend.

Trudeau – who has promised to pardon those persecuted under historic anti-gay lawsappointed a special adviser on LGBT+ issues and even sent a personalised message to a gay man who received a homophobic Valentine’s Day card since taking office in 2015 – once again took his place front and centre of one the country’s biggest pride events as thousands took to the streets of Québec’s largest city on Sunday (August 19).

He walked the parade route alongside the Irish Taoiseach and his partner Matt Barrett, with the group receiving rapturous applause from the gathered crowds.

Mr Varadkar, who is embarking on a three-day official visit to Canada, made history in June when he became the first openly gay man to hold the position of Prime Minister in Ireland.

He told crowds at Sunday’s parade: “We need to stand up to homophobic bullying in workplaces an schools, we need to make more advances in the area of sexual health; that is a key priority for me at home and internationally.”

The former Minister for Social Protection continued: “Countries that are progressive, open and diverse, like Canada and Ireland have a responsibility to other people in other parts of the world where equality and equal rights are under threat and the clock is being turned backwards.

“We need to use our voices to stand up to communities who face real threats and real dangers.”

Mr Varadkar, the son of an Indian immigrant doctor, came out in 2015 in the run-up to Ireland’s referendum on equal marriage, which at the time made him Ireland’s first openly gay cabinet member in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Montreal Pride week saw the City of Montreal and its police force issue an historic public apology to the LGBT community for past institutional discrimination and crackdowns on gay bars and clubs from the 1970s to the 1990s, CBC News reports.

The future of city’s Pride event also looks assured after the federal government announced on Sunday (August 20) that it would be giving $463,000 in funding to the organisation that puts together the annual celebration of LGBT+ equality.

“This colourful party allows us to celebrate the culture and pride of LGBTQ2 communities,” said Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly.

“And allows us to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Check out some highlights from Montreal Pride parade below:

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