Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rainbow Warrior 2014 goes to...

TORONTO, ON, July 15, 2014 – Pride Toronto is pleased to announce that all the organizers and volunteers of WorldPride 2014 Toronto have been chosen by the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network to receive the “Rainbow Warrior 2014” award “for their outstanding support for international LGBT solidarity and LGBT culture.”
"WorldPride 2014 Toronto has been an extraordinary LGBT happening on a global stage—confirming the strength of expanding the rainbow over international borders   and focusing on the powerful role of LGBT culture in the battle against homophobia, intolerance and silence," says Bill Schiller, secretary general of the ILGCN Information Secretariat - Stockholm.
The ILGCN is supported by the Nordic LGBT cultural organization Tupilak. Earlier ILGCN and Tupilak awards have gone to South Africa's Nelson Mandela, Amnesty International, International Humanists, the Auschwitz Museum Poland, Sweden's Civil Rights Defenders, the European Union's LGBT network, the former Council of Europe's human rights commissioner Thomas Hammarberg and others.
WorldPride 2014 Toronto was an international gathering and celebration of human rights, featuring the Trans* Pride March, the Dyke March, the WorldPride parade, and Canada’s largest LGBTQ arts & culture festival. The WorldPride Human Rights Conference, presented by the Bonham Centre at the University of Toronto, drew participants from over 50 countries. Past Pride Toronto International Grand Marshals (IGMs)—activists who lead the Pride parade each year and represent a region of the world—also returned for the event, joining 2014 IGM Anna Rekhviashvili from Georgia.
“We are honoured that WorldPride 2014 Toronto has been chosen as the recipient of the “Rainbow Warrior 2014” award,” said Shelley Craig, co-chair of the Pride Toronto Board of Directors. “It was a 10-day celebration grounded in the struggle for global human rights, and the dialogue we were privileged to host will be the catalyst for future community-building around the world.”

For more information visit www.worldpridetoronto.com

Friday, May 30, 2014

Vancouver Pride Announces its 2014 Grand Marshals

Vancouver, BC (May 30, 2014) – The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) is proud to announce director Gwen Haworth, activist Dean Nelson, and the late ted northe as Grand Marshals for the 2014 #Vancouver Pride Parade.

Grand Marshals are local, national, or international heroes who have done great things to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues and create safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ community. Grand Marshals inspire us with their courage, conviction and dedication. Each year, up to three outstanding individuals from the LGBTQ community are recognized and celebrated during Pride Week and lead our entries during the Pride Parade, occurring on August 3rd, 2014.

Gwen Haworth is a queer trans* filmmaker and community activist best known for her feature documentary She’s a Boy I Knew. Recently, her video work has included social equity projects for RainCity Housing and Support Society, installations for the Museum of Vancouver, and a new short film about local poet Antonette Rea entitled a woman with a past, which premiered at the 2014 Berlinale Film Festival.
Gwen works at Vancouver Coastal Health as the educator for Prism Services, facilitating LGBT2Q+ inclusion workshops within non-profit housing, social service and health care settings. She has volunteered with the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre and the Vancouver Parks Board's Trans* and Gender Variant Inclusion Working Group. She currently volunteers on the City of Vancouver's LGBTQ Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors for Out On Screen, and the Advisory Committee for Safe Choices, a program within the Ending Violence Association of BC.

In addition to producing the Whistler Ski and Pride Festival and co-founding the Mr. Gay World mentorship program, Dean Nelson co-founded the first Olympic Pride House at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Olympic Pride House is a pavilion that celebrates diversity and creates a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer (LGBTQ) athletes. The Olympic Pride House shines a light on homophobia in sports, and has expanded to the 2012 Olympics in London Olympics, 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Rio FIFA World Cup 2014 and the PanAm Games in Toronto 2015.

ted northe, a local LGBTQ legend, contributed over 56 years of activism before unfortunately passing away this past spring. ted northe organized the first Pride March in Canada (1963); created the Courts of Canada (1964), the first Gay Businessman's Guild (1970), the first gay sports league in Canada (1974); and co-founded the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society (1975), the first LGBT First Nations Group in the country. He held the title of Empress of Canada for 50 years. In his lifetime, northe was a leader in the fight against the AIDS Epidemic and dedicated himself to the advancement of rights for the LGBTQ community. He was a driving force in defining the modern LGBTQ Community and Human Rights Movement in Canada.

This year, the annual Vancouver Pride Parade will occur on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 along the streets of downtown Vancouver. The Vancouver Pride Parade is the largest single-day celebration in western Canada, with over 650,000 spectators coming out to watch 4,000 participants march along the streets of downtown Vancouver in a celebration of the diversity and spirit of the LGBTQ community.
The Pride Parade will begin at the intersection of Robson Street and Thurlow Street, travel west along Robson Street to Denman Street, turn left on Denman Street, travel south to Beach Avenue where it will turn left before ending in the Dispersal Area, located on Pacific Street from Jervis Street to Thurlow Street.

About the Vancouver Pride Society
The VPS is a not-for-profit organization that brings together members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirited and Queer (LGBTQ) community, their friends, allies and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of our community by producing quality, inclusive events. The VPS strengthens the sense of community and contributes to the vibrancy, health and overall well being of all persons in the LGBTQ community.

Vancouver Pride Events
In addition to the Pride Parade, the VPS will produce a full roster of exciting events this summer, including:
East Side Pride, Grandview Park, Saturday, June 28th from 11:00 am - 6:00 pm.
Gay Day @ Playland, PNE Grounds, Saturday, July 19th from 11:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
Pride Run & Walk, Brockton Oval, Saturday, July 26th from 8:00 am - 11:00 am.
Picnic in the Park, Brockton Oval, Saturday, July 26th from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.
Davie Street Block Party, Davie Street Village, between Jervis Street and Burrard Street, Friday, August 1st, 4:00 pm - 12:00 pm.
Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast, Davie St. and Bute Street, Saturday, August 2st, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.

Sunset Beach Pride Festival, Sunset Beach, Sunday, August 3rd, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Pride Parade, Downtown Vancouver, Sunday, August 3rd, 12:00 pm. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Russian Open Games in Moscow 26Feb-02Mar2014

Tomorrow, on 26 February 2014, 'Russian LGBT Sport Federation' launch the Open Games in Moscow. The Games will last from 26 February to 2 March, and will combine competitions in eight kinds of sport with a variety of educational, advocacy, cultural, and entertaining events. The Russian Open Games are now bringing together more than 300 guests and participants from 11 countries and 22 regions of Russia, being the first LGBT sport and advocacy event of such scale in Russia.

Inspired by the Olympic presence and by Gay Games, activists with 'Russian LGBT Sport Federation' now face a tough fight. No impressions or hopes should remain that the organizers of this sporting event get to benefit from the post-Olympic flair in Russia – because they do not. Naturally, the assurances of non-discrimination and equal access to sport by the Russian authorities do not extend to anything outside of the Sochi games. The ‘excellent’, ‘welcoming’ atmosphere at the Olympics that has been praised by athletes and by gay members of some country delegations was nothing but a privilege awarded to them, and has nothing to do with reality – including the reality of doing sports in Russia.

The word ‘open’ in the Open Games’ title, being a conventional reference to ‘open to all’, ‘with an open mind’ and many other wonderful concepts, comes at a special price for Elvina Yuvakaeva, Konstantin Yablotskiy, and their fellow activists from ‘Russian LGBT Sport Federation’. For them, making the Open Games happen means navigating their way to openness through barriers, threats, and prejudice. Even harder – it goes hand in hand with a must for them to constantly question their aspirations, boundaries, and tactics, and, most importantly, to redefine ‘openness’ itself.

Imagine: in order to secure venues for the competitions (note:  a whole variety of them is needed given the format of the event), Elvina and her colleagues have to conceal from venue owners what the event actually is. ‘After several refusals from venues, we made the decision to omit most details in our negotiations with potential lenders. At present, management at only one venue is informed about the nature of our event,’ says Elvina Yuvakaeva. Additionally, the organizers had to prepare to respond to any last-minute requirements from the management. Elvina says that, among other measures, they selected smaller, mobile banner holders ‘to be able to fold them up and remove right away should the venue owners request it’. Slogans and rainbow-themed decorations will not be used at most venues either.

A recent letter from the infamous St Petersburg deputy Vitaly Milonov to Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin requesting that the Open Games are cancelled means that the Open Games are for now the number one target for homophobic leaders and their support groups. Responding to ‘high risks of attacks by aggressive groups on the participants, simply speaking – pogroms’, Elvina says the Russian LGBT Sport Federation keeps all addresses and locations in secret, hires security guards, and has to close  the event’s doors to those who did not manage to register in advance and pass the security check.
Another difficult decision for the organizers was refusal of participation to people under 18 years old (and there were several who wanted to sign up) – yet another illustration of the isolation that the ‘propaganda’ law brings to young LGBTs.

Even one day before the event the organizers cannot be sure that homophobic groups do not attempt to threaten venues to cancel prior agreements. That their locations were not leaked to extremists and street thugs. That there won’t be bomb hoax calls – by example of St Petersburg’s Side by Side Film Festival. What the organizers are sure about, however, is that the event will take place despite all these risks, and that those who are coming to Moscow this week will be persistent and determined to make it happen – because they join not simply to compete, but to claim their rights and to work their way to greater openness.

Let’s all thank those who have supported the Open Games and help to make them happen through media and fundraising outreach, as well by participation. These are hundreds of individuals and more than a dozen of organizations and groups internationally, including the Federation of Gay Games, Open Society Foundations, Athlete Ally, Arcus Foundation, COC Nederland, Amnesty International, British Embassy and embassies of Finland and France in Moscow. Open Games are supported by the coalition of LGBT organizations: ‘Russian LGBT Network’, ‘Coming Out’, Side by Side, ‘Rakurs’, and Out Loud.

UESE IN SOCHI - An Interview with Konstantin Yablotskiy, Russian LGBT Sports Federation from UESE on Vimeo.

Let’s wish best of luck to friends at ‘Russian LGBT Sport Federation’, and let’s join them in their efforts at least by watching closely the developments.

Anastasia Smirnova

Spokesperson for the coalition of LGBT organizations:
‘Russian LGBT Network’ movement
‘Coming Out’ LGBT organization
Russian LGBT Sport Federation
‘Side by Side’ LGBT Film Festival
‘Rakurs’ LGBT organization

Out Loud project

Monday, September 24, 2012

Angus Praught Canadian LGBT Tourism Leader Recipient

Angus Praught Recipient of Travel Gay Canada LGBT Tourism Leadership Award
Toronto, ON – September 24, 2012 – Travel Gay Canada (TGC), Canada’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) tourism industry association, announced that Angus Praught has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 LGBT Tourism Leadership Award.

The LGBT Tourism Leadership Award is presented to an individual that has made significant contributions to LGBT tourism within Canada.  This TGC Hall of Fame Award will be presented on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at the 3rd Annual Travel Gay Canada LGBT Tourism Conference in Victoria, BC.

“Angus has been a leader in the LGBT tourism industry for years.  He has been instrumental in not only developing the LGBT travel market for Vancouver but for the entire country through his tireless efforts and his continued support of the community,” said Colin Sines, President, Travel Gay Canada.  “The choice for the award was unanimous.”

The theme for TGC’s 3rd Annual LGBT Tourism Conference is The Edge, Future and Potential of LGBT Travel.  The conference will be held at The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, on October 11th and 12th, 2012.  The Award will be presented to Angus Praught during the luncheon.

Travel Gay Canada will be announcing the recipient of the award at an industry networking reception to be held in Vancouver on Tuesday, September 25th.

Date: Tuesday, September 25th
Time: 5:00pm  - 7:00pm
Location: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Tudor Room, 801 West Georgia Street

RSVP: office@travelgaycanada.com


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Job Posting: Diversity and Accessibility Advisor for the 2015 Games

Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
Application Deadline: September 2, 2011 Starting Date: September 19, 2011

Position: Advisor, Diversity and Accessibility

Job Description:
General Accountability
Support and advance TO2015’s diversity and accessibility initiatives both internally and externally with particular focus on recruitment and workplace initiatives, governance, and employee communications. The incumbent will serve as a resource for the whole of TO2015, and will work closely with internal and external leaders and organizations representing diverse cultures and persons with disabilities from across the province.

Key Job Responsibilities

- Working closely with HR colleagues develop relevant recruitment strategies and programming to support TO2015’s staffing goals to build a workforce that reflects the diversity of the GGH region
- Act as a catalyst /facilitator working closely with recruitment teams to identify and build robust pipelines of qualified diverse candidates for all TO2015 roles
- Use personal network/contacts to reach out and leverage relationships with diverse communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe to solicit high quality candidates for TO2015 vacancies (F/T, P/T, contract, volunteer)
- Participate as an internal resource on TO2015’s Employment Advisory Council, with a focus on gathering Greater Golden Horseshoes recruitment leaders to provide /share insights with respect to their best-in-class diversity practices and policies

Inclusive Workplace
- Conduct workplace reviews to ensure systemic issues and/or practices that may serve as an impediment to effective integration of persons from diverse backgrounds are identified and effective solutions implemented
- Create an environment of inclusion that enables all employees to feel accepted and able to perform optimally, through the establishment of relevant programming, e.g. networks for distinct employee groups
- Identify and deliver appropriate diversity and accessibility training to all internal constituent groups

- Support the Senior Vice President, Human Resources and General Counsel in establishing relevant diversity and accessibility initiatives/training targeted at the Board and Committee Level
- Liaise with leading organizations in the region to gather ‘best in class’ governance practices. Identify those most relevant and suitable to TO2015 and develop plan to adopt and implement

- Support the Director, Procurement in reaching out to and connecting with new business contacts/networks from diverse communities that exist in the region
- Work closely with the External Partnerships and Community Outreach team to support and reinforce their outreach efforts where they intersect with governance and workforce initiatives
- Serve as a formal and informal Ambassador for TO2015 in all matters relating to diversity

- Support the Director, Communications in ensuring that all communications are accessible and relevant to the various communities represented in the region
- Identify opportunities to message to various groups, organizations and individuals who may not otherwise come into contact with TO2015
- Coordinate with the Communications department to provide content for reporting on and crafting communications about diversity, such as the annual Report on Diversity

Type of Position:
Full Time - Employee

Contact Information:
Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
Toronto , ON

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2011 Outgames Theme Song Unveiled

Recording artists Sugarbeach Unveil Theme Song “Come On Out” for the Vancouver 2011 Outgames

May 26, 2011 (Vancouver, B.C.) - International recording artists Sugarbeach and the Vancouver 2011 Outgames unveiled today the official theme song for the GLISA N.A. Vancouver 2011 Outgames on the Outgames website vancouver2011outgames.com, Reverbnation and itunes.
“We wanted to write a song that would capture the energy, spirit and importance of being an active participator in the Vancouver Outgames/Human Rights Conference and in one’s own life” says Marlee Walchuk, one half of the dynamic duo Sugarbeach.

Barb Snelgrove, Communications Director of the Vancouver 2011 Outgames states, “Vancouver 2011 Outgames are ecstatic about the tune that Sugarbeach has created for the Games, it truly represents the spirit of the Outgames and we are honoured that they are part of this very special event”.

In just 4 years, the dance/pop duo Sugarbeach have released 2 chart topping albums, been nominated for 9 Pride in Arts awards and have won 3 (including Favourite Group and Pride Song of the Year) in the U. S. They have received an Outmusic nomination for Outstanding International Song of the Year from the Outmusic Awards in New York and their 2010 gay anthem, “Living Out Proud” won song of the year and was the most requested song of 2010 on the GLBT Outvoice Top 40 Charts. They are the creators and producers of RightOutTV.com, the web’s first LGBTQ music video channel. sugarbeachmusic.com

The Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames involves multi-sport elements supported by GLISA (International Sports Association of North America). A key component of to the Games is also the Human Rights Conference with featured keynote speakers Blake Skjellerup (Olympic short track speed skater), Sara Davis Buechner (Professor of Music UBC and concert pianist) and Steven Glassman (Chairman, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission).

Join Sugarbeach's Fan Page: Facebook/sugarbeach
Listen to Sugarbeach: Click Here

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quebec Gay and Lesbian Council calls on broadcasters to apologize for homophobic slurs on skater Johnny Weir

Montreal, 18 February 2010 – The Conseil québécois des gais
et lesbiennes (CQGL) expressed its indignation at the outrageous homophobic
statements by Alain Goldberg and Claude Mailhot on the show “Le réveil
olympique,” aired February 17 on Quebec;s RDS sports network. The CQGL is
calling for a public apology from these persons for their offensive and degrading
comments regarding figure skater Johnny Weir and his short program performance
the previous day.

The CQGL regards it as unacceptable for a sports commentator
and host to mock and denigrate an athlete in this way because of his demeanour
and non-conformity with gender stereotypes. Throughout the exchange, Mailhot
and Goldberg, while paying lip service to Weir’s right to be who he is, attacked
Weir for his supposed negative effect on the sport, and even suggested that
Weir should undergo gender testing.

Among the statements, each more insulting than the last,
Alain Goldberg went so far as to say that Weir gives a bad image of figure
skating and is a very poor example because people will think that boys who
practise this sport will become like him. Worse yet, Mailhot and Goldberg
suggested that Weir should undergo testing to determine if he is a man or a
woman, and wondered whether he should not be participating in women’s figure
skating instead.

“These people attacked not only the athlete, but also gays,
bisexuals, and heterosexuals who do not conform to social stereotypes of gender.
Their words perpetuate homophobic stereotypes,” said CQGL chair Steve Foster. “It’s
even more distressing considering that one of them used to be an assistant deputy
minister in the Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure, and Sport.

“Their comments are a blot on the Olympic spirit and their
professions,” Mr. Foster concluded.