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An Outpouring of Grief for Canadian LGBT Ally Jack Layton


Over the past couple of days I've mentioned the death of Canadian opposition leader and LGBT champion Jack Layton, who passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 61.

Here's a photo, shot by Jackman Chiu, of an impromptu memorial for Layton.

Our tipster writes:

"I thought you might want to know that the tribute to Jack Layton in Nathan Phillips Square, outside Toronto's City Hall, has exploded. Tens of thousands of chalk messages now cover the entire floor of the Square and all of its walls. I've never seen any out-pouring of grief like this for anyone in Toronto before. Jack was the fiercest ally for LGBQT rights Canadian politics has ever seen..."

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  1. I'm a Canadian who just spent the last four years living in the US. I just arrived back home a few weeks ago. Layton's death is heartbreaking.

    i think what hurts most is the fact that the man whose vision of this country most matched my own is now gone, just as the rest of the country was waking up to the possibilities of what Canada can, and should, be. I don't want a Canada that mimics the American/GOP styled bullshittery. I want a leader who actually embraces his liberal ideologies, not apologizes for them. Jack Layton, your passing hurts me more than I thought it would.

    This was a man who didn't just "support" the LGBT Community, he actively championed us. He marched in Pride parades across the country with his wonderful wife. He talked with us. He shared with us. He learned from us and with us.

    This year the NDP had an historic victory. It was so wonderful to see the success of a man and a party that do not apologize or downplay their liberal views.

    Jack Layton, you reminded me of what I love most about Canada. Your legacy inspired me and will live on.

    Thank you, for everything.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 24, 2011 3:04:46 PM

  2. Touching

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 24, 2011 3:23:09 PM

  3. I am sad over this news, but proud of all fellow Canadians who are paying thier respects!

    Posted by: Marc | Aug 24, 2011 3:33:38 PM

  4. It staggers the mind. I was at City Hall at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon, and there was still very little on the ground; most of what you see in this photo happened in the next three or four hours.

    For those who aren't familiar with Canadian politics, I couldn't overstate how devastating this is if I tried. Layton was a remarkable man, the greatest ally the LGBT community in Canada ever had, and a hero to me and to many.

    Posted by: Craig S | Aug 24, 2011 4:27:41 PM

  5. When I was a wee blonde twink back in the day, just Coming Out, I met Jack Layton at "Buddies" - a local queer theatre that functioned as a dance club on weekends.

    I cannot tell you much it meant to me as a gay teen to get to converse with a candidate for Prime Minister in a club in the village, because he actually truly cares about LGBT people.

    It empowered me. It empowered all of us.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 24, 2011 4:34:36 PM

  6. The CN tower is going to be coloured Orange Saturday in memory of Mr. Layton

    Posted by: Steve | Aug 24, 2011 4:35:55 PM

  7. Here's a timeline of Jack Layton's LGBT advocacy from Canada's XTRA.

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 24, 2011 4:52:36 PM

  8. Jack was a Great Man. The thing is, he really, genuinely cared about people. So many of us miss him.

    Posted by: Michael in Toronto | Aug 24, 2011 5:05:49 PM

  9. Canadian gay activist Rev. Brent Hawkes of the Toronto Metropolitan Community Church will be officiating at the funeral for Jack Layton at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto on Saturday. This is quite significant as Rev. Hawkes is a tireless fighter for gay rights.

    We will miss you Jack.

    Posted by: excy | Aug 24, 2011 5:09:28 PM

  10. LGBT or straight, we will all miss our Smiling Jack.

    Posted by: Lars | Aug 24, 2011 8:03:53 PM

  11. Pic of Jack at Gay Pride in Toronto just last month.

    Posted by: fern | Aug 24, 2011 8:45:35 PM

  12. ^ In the pic of Jack at Toronto Pride, he's riding with his wife and fellow NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow.

    Posted by: Dickster | Aug 24, 2011 9:44:03 PM

  13. Our entire Canadian nation is in mourning of the passing of Jack. Even the Conservative government of Stephen Harper is feeling the loss of such a great and inspirational Canadian who will live forever in the memories of such a progressive country that we call home. Even as the leader of the opposition party he will be given a State Funeral which will probably attract thousands this week. It just shows how we Canadians feel about such a progressive and inspirational individual.
    God Bless you Jack and RIP!

    Posted by: Darrell | Aug 25, 2011 2:11:13 AM

  14. I worked as a DJ at Woody's, where Jack and his wife Olivia Chow, were attending a memorial for a community activist, who had passed on.

    After paying his respects, Jack said...

    "I've been to Woody's many times and am certainly no stranger to the gay bars on Church Street, but this is the first time that I've had my ass groped here!

    I turned around to see who's hand it was...and there she was - Olivia Chow!!"

    A funny story, that shows a side of Jack that I think should be remembered at this time.

    As someone who is currently fighting melanoma, this has been very, very sad news.

    Rest In Peace, Jack - you will be truly missed.

    Posted by: tsunami | Aug 25, 2011 6:05:31 AM

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