Anan Bouapha was born and raised in Vientiane, the capital of the Laos People Democratic Republic. He is considered by many as the leader of his country’s nascent LGBTQ+ movement. In 2012, he founded Proud to Be Us Laos, the nation’s first civil society network promoting equal rights for young people of the sexual and gender diversity (SGD) communities. As President/Founder, he was instrumental in organising the first Pride event in Laos. Anan was honored with the Asian Pink Awards (Asia LGBTI Rights Awards) in Singapore in 2014 and praised for his work in combating HIV. Anan continues his advocacy efforts throughout Laos and lectures about Proud to be us Laos around the world.
Recognized as the a guardian of Montréal’s fetish history, Danny Godbout has volunteered with our communities since the mid 1980’s when he joined the Montréal Gay and Lesbian Community Centre. As an activist, he participated in both the Montréal Pride and as sponsorship coordinator for Ottawa Pride festival as Sponsorships coordinator. During this time, he worked in bars and other sexual and gender diversity establishments. Wishing to mobilize and generate awareness among men on the acceptance of one’s sexuality issue, he won the M. Cuir Montréal Mr Leather title in 2011. by advocating for RÉZO community organisation in his mandate on behalf of the RÉZO community organization. He then had the idea to create a fetish social club in Montréal and brought five community members together to found what would will become the Montréal Phoenix Leather and Latex Club, open to men and women who love leather and latex. Thanks to his experience, he had the honor and privilege to represent Montréal at the 33rd International Mr. Leather Contest and for the last 8 years, has been working as an assistant manager and kink consultant at Armada by the Men’s Room. He’s also exploring the drag scene with his alter-ego Sally-D.
Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humour, and resilience. Her memoir, A Two-Spirit Journey, provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people. As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counsellor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first LGBTQ+ pride parade in Thunder Bay.
Val Desjardins currently works as a personal trainer and has been known to collaborate with many high profiles, celebrity clients, such as Jennifer Aniston, Ariane Moffatt and Coeur de Pirate. She is an entrepreneur, athlete, coach and the owner of Pump Fitness MTL. Val was also the owner of the Royal Phoenix, a highly successful bar in the Mile-End, which quickly became staple for members of the LGBTQ+ communities after its inception. The opportunity to open this queer friendly space was brought to her after many years being involved in the revival of the roller derby scene in Montreal as well. Val is well known for embracing the use of imagery of her relationship as a display of a strong, lesbian couple. Furthermore, her embrace of the androgynous aesthetic, paired with her industry success story, has made a great platform for conversations regarding diversity and women empowerment. Her combination of ambition and her concern for the mental and physical health of her clients and her community have made her an advocate and a leader by example.
Monica Helms is the creator of the Transgender Pride Flag, which was first flown during the Pride Parade of Phoenix, Arizona, in the year 2000. She founded the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) in 2003, where she remained president until 2013. During her mandate at the organisation, TAVA sponsored the first ever Transgender Veterans March to the Wall. Her political activism includes lobbying state legislators in Arizona and Georgia, and members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Monica made history when she was elected as a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts and was the first trans person elected to a DNC Convention from Georgia and the South.
Wilson Cruz stars at Dr. Hugh Culber in the CBS All Access series, Star Trek: Discovery, as part of the first gay couple in the Star Trek universe. A first-generation American of Puerto Rican descent, Wilson also played one of TV’s first transgender characters in an Emmy nominated episode of Ally McBeal. He also had series regular roles on Party of Five, where he took home the ALMA Award for Outstanding Emerging Actor. He has also recurred on Shameless, The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, NCIS, American Dad and ER. On the frontlines of LGBT advocacy, Wilson Cruz took a break from acting to serve as the Director of Entertainment Industry Partnerships and as National Spokesperson for GLAAD. For his activism, he has thus far received, amongst others: the Liberty Award from Lambda Legal, the Visibilidad Award from GLAAD, the Fusion Achievement Award from Outfest, the Latino Spirit Award for Achievement in Entertainment and Advocacy from the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the Harvey Milk Equality Award and the Advocate Award from AdColor and the Point Courage Award from the Point Foundation.
Jacq Brasseur is a white settler, francophone, Catholic, bigender, bisexual, and queer activist born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. In 2011, they co-founded the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife with Nicole Garbutt, the only queer and trans youth outreach organization in the Northwest Territories, and were a part of the team that opened the first ever queer youth centre in the territory. Jacq is also actively involved with Pride Festival organizing across the country, having co-founded NWT Pride (2012) with Iman Kassam and Nancy MacNeill, and currently acting as the Northern Regional Director for Fierté Canada Pride. They also dedicated a lot of their time to volunteering and working with Catholic school boards to promote safer spaces for queer and trans youth in faith-based education systems.
Jacq graduated from Aurora College with a Certificate of Social Work and went on to complete a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Regina in 2014. They are working towards a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction to be able to help inform the inclusion of 2LGBTQ+ content into curriculums across the country.
Working closely with a number of other communities, Jacq works hard to incorporate a queer and trans lens into everything. From 2013 to 2015, Jacq acted as a board member for the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (FJCF) where they actively contributed a franco-queer perspective to francophone youth organizing. Jacq also currently writes a monthly radio-show with Radio-Canada in Saskatchewan about LGBTQ+ issues in French.
In May 2017, Jacq left the North to pursue a position as Executive Director of the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity in Regina, SK. Since Jacq’s move, they have become actively involved with 2LGBTQ+ organizing in Saskatchewan having most recently been named as Treasurer for TransSask Support Services, a trans rights and advocacy organization in the province. While participating as a copresident of Montréal Pride, Jacq is also trying to raise $20,000 for the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife to support queer, trans and intersex kids in the Northwest Territories.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights, from mobile outreach and AIDS prevention to fighting the prison industrial complex, intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today.
She is a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion and was incarcerated at Attica months after the 1971 Uprising. Most recently, Miss Major has served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a grassroots organization advocating for trans women of color in and outside of prison that is led by trans women of color.
Miss Major’s extraordinary life and personal story is one of resilience and celebration in a community that has been historically traumatized and marginalized. While mainstream gay rights and marriage equality dominate the headlines, Miss Major’s life is a testament to the fierce survivalism and every day concerns of transgender women of color, who so often live in the margin of the already marginalized.
Gus Kenworthy is a freestyle skier all the way from Telluride, Colorado, who competes in slopestyle and halfpipe competitions. Back in 2014, at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he won the silver medal in Men’s Free-Form Skiing. Kenworthy came out as gay in one of his interviews with ESPN back in October 2015. In 2018, he made the headlines at PyeongChang, not for a medal or a nasty fall, but for a peck on the lips with his boyfriend — and he couldn’t be happier. The US skier says the overwhelming positive reaction he’s received has compensated for a disappointing performance in the slopestyle final.
Employed for over 15 years by several businesses in Montréal’s Gay Village (Priape, Le Man’s Barber Shop, Armada Men’s Room, etc.), Dominique quickly found her place within the LGBTQ+ Community. Primarily focused on helping her community, she was active in the founding of a Leather Club — Phoenix of Montréal, and currently serves on the Board of the Fusion Weekend event, as its Vice-President.
She is passionate about designing leather accessories, discussing human behaviours in BDSM and its sexual practices, about the history and the traditions of leather (important to her!). She also takes a great interest in introducing curious amateurs to the realm of leather as she is deeply committed to changing the perceptions, misunderstanding and concerns people may have.
A fetishist who is passionate, Dominique never hesitates to wear leather at work and when she goes out, seeking to confront stereotypes and generate awareness about the place of leather in the community. As the first ever Mme Cuir Montréal 2017 in the history of both the City and Québec, she is paving the way for women’s visibility within the leather community. Last April, she came back from the International Ms Leather Contest with the “Heart and Soul” Award, a distinction for the purest leather heart among contestants. Dominique was also one of the instigators of the #unique Movement (Facebook page on Body Shaming) and constantly bears a message of love for all within the community; whatever body they may have, she welcomes everyone to her table.
Julie Lemieux was born in Drummondville, Québec, on September 4, 1972 where she spent the first 29 years of her life. Though she was marginalized in her school environment, she always strived to overcome her own limits by making use of both her imagination and her intuition. First a dropout who later returned to school, Ms Lemieux is self-educated
In November 1997, in Drummondville, she founded and operated a Bistro-café which closed its doors one year later following the ice storm disaster. In response to this setback, she returned to study and completed her high school education. She would later pursue studies in pre-printing process computer graphics at Montreal’s Collège Ahuntsic. In September 2001, following several months of hormonal therapy, she would return to Collège Ahuntsic with her new female identity. However, two years later, health reasons forced her to abandon her studies in computer graphics.
At age 33, she decided to become a self-employed handyperson or odd-jobber, which provided her with the opportunity to enhance the quality of people’s lives which is a real motivation for her. A few years later, she acquired an historical property at Très-Saint-Rédempteur, a move that satisfied her unconditional appreciation of both history and of our heritage. She immediately took an interest in village affairs by regularly attending municipal council assemblies. In October 2010, with the help of three other residents, she established La Fondation des amis du patrimoine de Très-Saint-Rédempteur. In 2013, she was elected as a municipal councillor and in 2017, with the support of several fellow citizens, she ran for mayor and the rest is history…
Kennedy Otieno Olango, a Public Health Officer by training, is a Program Manager with the Men Against AIDS Youth Group advocacy organization (MAAYGO), in Kenya. A leader and mobilizer within the LGBTQ community since 2008, he mentors and coaches local GMT individual leaders, organizations and networks notably working with persons living with HIV/AIDS and the economically disenfranchised from the informal settlement zone of the Kisumu County District of Kenya.
With his training as a community paralegal, he is also active with both the general and the LGBTQ communities to raise awareness and understanding of the law and human rights protections regardless of segregating factors such as social status, academic or intellectual prowess, HIV status or sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). He is also involved in bridging the gap between the LGBTQ community and Kenyan health related institutions, acting as an advisor on LGBTQ community health and human rights needs.
Thus, Kennedy is the Gay, MSM and Trans individuals (GMT) appointed representative on the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s Center for Global Research (KEMRI/CGHR) Advisory Board. He also serves as the chairperson of the LVCT Training Institute’s at-risk Key Population Advisory Committee and as coordinator of the Gay HIV Prevention Network. This initiative of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GLACK) advocates for the integration of GMT issues in local, district and national health programming. More recently, GMT-Plus Network, a pan African health advocacy organization appointed Kennedy as its East Africa Core Group Coordinator.
Finally, Kennedy Olango is the contact person for the recently formed Western Kenya Pride organizing committee that plans to hold its first ever edition in 2018.
Following studies in Media Arts and Technology at the Jonquière CEGEP, Dany Turcotte was first a member of the comedy troupe Groupe Sanguin from 1986 to 1990. He later formed the hugely successful Lévesque et Turcotte duo with his trusted accomplice Dominique Lévesque. Throughout his career, Mr Turcotte has received numerous nominations and awards, notably at the ADISQ Gala and at the Les Oliviers Gala. Since 2004, he has acted as the jester-in-residence of the Tout le monde en parle CBC French television show on which he made his coming out in 2005, the year he also became the spokesperson for the Emergence Foundation.
Montréal native John Banks is well known for his activism spanning decades from the late 1950’s to today. The man, who acted as the personal secretary and protégé of the legendary Marlene Dietrich for 12 years, has always been involved in one form or another of LGBT+ community support. John had met Marlene Dietrich in 1960 at a Montréal concert, and had been hired on the spot. Their association would last until 1973.
In 1964, while in Vancouver, he joined ASK (the Association for Social Knowledge), the very first gay organisation he had heard of. He wrote and played in a musical revue to raise money for the defense of LGBT people arrested in Stanley Park. A public march to kick off the endeavor was the first in a long list of gay parades he would be part of.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he was a frequent contributor to gay publications such as ATTITUDE and SORTIE. During this period, he was also involved with two local community radio stations — Radio Centre-Ville and CIBL— producing and hosting two gay radio programs while acting as the co-host of a gay television show called Côte à côte.
A contract with the CTV Network led to the production of three groundbreaking programs involving John and his actress mother, which proved to be influential in changing mentalities and bringing the medical establishment to rethink their perception of homosexuality as a mental illness.
Always the pioneer, John opened the first Montréal gay-friendly vegetarian restaurant with a non-smoking section around 1975.
In 1979, learning that some U.S. LGBT groups planned to mark the 10th anniversary of Stonewall, he thought that Montréal should do the same and proposed the idea of taking to the streets not in a demonstration against police raids and other inequalities but to show the world that LGBT+ persons were very diverse, happy, proud and quite normal. This is credited with being the launch of the Pride celebrations in Canada.
After years as a volunteer at various organizations, John Banks is now dedicated to Les Archives gaies du Québec (Québec Gay Archives).
Janik Bastien-Charlebois, M.Sc. Anthropology, Ph.D. Sociology, is a professor at the Department of Sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal and lectures in the Cultural Action Program. She is a co-researcher in research groups on “Testimonial Cultures” and “Beyond Appearances: an intersectional study of the diversity of experience among trans youth” and is a member of the Institute for Research on Feminist Studies as well as being affiliated to the Chair for Research on homophobia. Her research focuses on intersex studies, sexual and gender diversity as well as on cultural democracy. She is currently conducting research on the emergence of intersex voices in the Anglophone and francophone spheres. She has published the monograph “La Virilité en jeu” (Manhood at stake) as well as articles on: “Au-delà de la phobie de l’homo : quand le concept d’homophobie porte ombrage à la lutte contre l’hétérosexisme et l’hétéronormativité” in Reflets and “Les sujets intersexes peuvent-ils (se) penser ? : Les empiètements de l’injustice épistémique sur la subjectivation politique”, in Socio (awaiting publication). Openly intersex, she is committed to the battle to obtain recognition for the rights of intersex persons.
Puelo Deir is a playwright, producer, publicist, and the co-founder of Divers/Cite?, Montreal’s original LGBTQ+ parade and queer arts festival. From meager beginnings working in a windowless room in the back of the LGBTQ+ community centre, he initiated new and inovative sponsorship, marketing and communications campaigns, and molded the event into an international phenomenon. An organizer of countless Montreal events, many with a philanthropic edge, Deir continues to be a strong influence within the Montreal Queer community.
He co-founded and co-produced the pioneering and hugely successful Queer Comics with the Just For Laughs Festival.
In 2013 he wrote and produced his first play, Holy Tranity!, one of the top five-bestselling plays in the 25-year history of the Montreal Fringe Festival, and enjoyed sell out audiences at Salle Claude-Léveillée in Place des Arts with the French version, Saint-Jude du Village. Rave reviews from critics and audiences alike were received for his second show, Léo : une course contre la honte. He recently hit the theatre stage for the first time to perform a solo show entitled Old, Fat & Fucked! Now What?
Puelo was Director General of the Table de concertation des gais et lesbiennes de Montréal, a formal negotiating voice for the gay and lesbian community (now known as Le Conseil québécois LGBT) during the historic Quebec Human Rights Commission public hearings on discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians.?He has sat on the boards of Image & Nation, Montreal’s gay and lesbian film festival, AIDS Community Care of Montreal (ACCM), a support organization for people living with HIV/AIDS and presided over Concordia University’s Communications Studies Guild.?
Deir’s numerous accolades include Hour Magazine’s Young Turks of upcoming movers and shakers, and the prix Arc-en-ciel (Montreal’s LGBTQ highest honour) for his work co-founding Divers/Cité. The Montreal Gazette called him one of the people that make Montreal a great place to live, Fugues Magazine named him one of Quebec’s 100 most influential LGBTQ leaders of the last 25 years, and Montreal Gazette journalist Richard Burnett selected Puelo as one of the Top 20 Hottest Montrealers of 2013 in his annual year-end column.
Hello, I’m Khloe, I am 15 years old and I was born a boy. As far as I can remember, I have always been attracted to girl things: makeup, shoes, clothes, dolls… I experienced a lot of bullying at school and I had behavioural problems. I did not understand what was happening in my head and body. For Christmas, 3 years ago and upon my request, my mother gave me makeup. The day after, on December 26th, 2013, I told her I was a girl (the most stressing, but also the most beautiful day of my life). She then showed me a report about transgender children. I finally understood that I was normal and above all, not crazy. I subsequently initiated the transition. For 3 years, I have finally been myself! I appeared on the TV documentary I am trans, on Deux filles le matin, on Deux hommes en or and on Tout le monde en parle. I also appeared in many daily newspapers and in the magazines La Semaine and Véro.
Florence Gagnon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University. In 2012, she achieved her ambition to create a platform aiming to give lesbian communities a resource with the name: Lez Spread the Word, first bilingual site of the kind in Canada. In 2014, she launched the fiction series FÉMININ/FÉMININ with film director Chloé Robichaud (Sarah Préfère la Course et Pays), winning two Prix Gémeaux and many international prizes in 2015. In 2016, she published the first LSTW magazine, an annual, bilingual and Canada-wide publication of 230 pages with success in stores across the Canadian provinces, the capitals of Europe and big American cities. From Yellowknife to Vancouver, Berlin and Stockholm, even to New York’s MoMa PS1.
Mona Greenbaum is the co-founder and executive director of the LGBT Family Coalition, an association that advocates for families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans parents. The organization received three Arc-en-ciel Awards in recognition of its social activism. The Coalition’s primary mission is to train people who work in schools and social services.
To date, the Coalition has held more than 500 training sessions in 15 regions of the province of Québec, sensitizing more than 16,000 people about the need to intervene against homophobic and transphobic violence, heteronormativity and harassment based on gender expression.
In 2010, Mona received the Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec, in honour of her many years of activism within the LGBT community.
In 2013, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her work for the LGBT community in Canada.
In 2015, on the 40th anniversary of the Charter, the Québec Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights selected Mona as one of the 40 people having led exceptional careers in the defense or advocacy of the rights included in the Charter.
Author and columnist with the daily Journal Métro. A native of Waswanipi, she is an advocate for the rights of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. She is actively involved with the youth in Indigenous communities and she works to generate awareness among non native audiences to overcome the prejudices about her people. She is currently studying Political Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM).
As of 2017, Mado Lamotte’s career has spanned an incredible 30 years. Québec’s most recognized and flamboyant drag Queen, bar none, Mado has developed irreverence into an art form which has endeared her to a vast audience locally and internationally. She has become an institution who paved the way for emerging drag queens with her eponymous Cabaret.
Lavann fled Antigua and Barbuda – a Caribbean country that criminalizes homosexuality – to seek protection in Canada. She came to Toronto two years ago with the sole purpose of fully living her life as an open and authentic lesbian with her partner Tammie-Faye.
The former Miss Antigua and Barbuda and television news anchor-turned-LGBT-activist, has much to be proud of as her work and talent have been recognized by many organizations across North America and the Caribbean. She has written feature articles for several publications, including Huffington Post and has appeared on The Michelle Meow Show in the US, Toronto’s Newstalk 1010, among other platforms.
Fleurien Leth Graveson
Fleurien Leth is a genderqueer artist and activist based in Montréal. They have a passion for community building and bringing to the spotlight lesser-known identities such as non-binary genders, asexuality, and aromanticism, as well as for exploring the impact that having multiple intersecting identities has in our community. They co-run the Asexual Community of Montréal and are the founding member of the Non-Binary Collective and FuriouslyQueer, a politically-minded podcast.
Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, is the nephew of the late civil rights icon, Harvey Milk. Stuart has led on the ground award winning programs in 63 countries in support of LGBT and human rights. He has been a master lecturer on Global LGBT rights at the worlds leading universities including the University of Cambridge, University of Milan, Harvard University and Universidad Peruana. Stuart is a featured contributor on US and international broadcast and cable TV including MSNBC, NBC, and Telemundo. He has written extensively on the legal and societal recognition of LGBT people in leading publications including the Huffington Post and Sacbee. Stuart has led collaborative international congresses on minority inclusion, diversity education, and workplace acceptance. Having over two decades of leadership experience in the private sector as Senior Vice President at Lockheed Martin and in the public sector as a senior consultant at the US Labor Department, he often consults with business and community organizations finding the intersection of economic growth and social progress. Even though Stuart has worked alongside world leaders from former US President Barack Obama to Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, it is the everyday activists he has come to know that he is most inspired by. Stuart has been globally recognized with dozens of distinguished honors for over two decades of tireless volunteer leadership in some of the most challenging human rights environments on five continents.
Martine Roy has worked at IBM since 1999 where she has held several positions, including critical situation manager and accounts manager. She set up business resource groups within the organization to support LGBT employees and has been very involved in raising awareness among staff and management about the realities of LGBT people and in promoting their inclusion in the workplace. She is a board member of Pride at Work Canada and sits on the Committee for a Just Society. Until 2015, she was also President of the Fondation Émergence and has just been appointed commissioner for youth at the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in June 2017.
Educated at the University of Ottawa, the Université de Paris and Dalhousie University, Bill Ryan is a social worker and adult educator involved in sexual education, LGBTQI2S health and HIV-related work since 1985, when he founded the first support group for persons with HIV in the Atlantic Provinces.
Since moving to Montréal, he has taught in the social work department of McGill University, and has consulted and offered training on issues related to sex education, prevention of STIs, care and policy development on the local, national and international levels.
His research has centered on gay youth, homophobia, gay men’s health, same-sex parenting, aging in the gay and lesbian population, sexual education, schoolyard homophobic bullying, access to health care and the development of support services. He teaches the only course at McGill University on counseling issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2001, he was named a Hero of the AIDS Crisis by the Farha Foundation. In 2009, he was named Person of the Year by the Gay and Lesbian Council of Québec. In 2010, he was awarded Montréal’s Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award, and was named one of the Top Ten Researchers in Gender and Health by the Institute of Gender and Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Jack Saddleback is a Cree Two-Spirit Transgender gay man from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. As the former President for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU), Jack was the third Aboriginal person and first Transgender person to hold the role.
Growing up as a genderqueer child, he faced bullying and discrimination at school and in his community; he was diagnosed with severe depression at the age of 14 and struggled for years to reach a stage of recovery. Eventually coming out as transgender at the age of 18, Jack healed through the help of his traditional Cree ceremonies in conjunction with conventional therapy.
Along with his student activism Jack has sat on various committees and councils, two of which being the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s youth council and the National Indigenous Youth Council on Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS. He has openly advocated for Indigenous engagement, mental health, gender and sexual diversity issues, Two-Spirit issues, sexual health, and HIV & AIDS in every role he has held. Speaking up and speaking out while being proud about his intersectional identities have brought much awareness to the needs of the communities he serves.
Mark Singh is a life-long tree-hugger, avid cook and serial volunteer. He works for the City of Toronto, leading the development of strategic partnerships for Live Green Toronto and serving as an innovation champion. He was previously the Executive Director of Eneract, an environmental charity. He has served on the Boards of both InterPride and Fierté Canada Pride and spent four years on the Board of Pride Toronto, including two years as Co-Chair. It was during this time that he initiated and Chaired Toronto’s successful bid for WorldPride 2014. Mark holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from York University and a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University.
He met the love of his life, Daniel, at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in 2005. They recently celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary.
Chrissy Taylor is a white, genderqueer, queer person originally from Northern Ireland and has been living on Unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh and Tsiell Wauthuth Territories (Vancouver, BC) for the past 12 years. Chrissy is currently a Vice President of Operations for Interpride and a former Vice President of Vancouver Pride Society. Chrissy has worked for many years in health equity research with sex workers and folks living with HIV and is currently taking a break to pursue a Master in Counselling. Chrissy is passionate about hearing peoples’ stories, increasing accessibility, social and health justice, anti-oppressive, anti-racist and anti-colonial practices. Chrissy uses they/them pronouns, loves to cook and whittle spoons.
Olympic Gold Medalist | Chef de Mission, 2012 Summer Olympic Game | Humanitarian
Mark Tewksbury is a true icon—recognized for his achievements in sport, public speaking, and humanitarianism. A sought after personality, Mark has spent decades sharing his life experience with audiences around the world. He is a charismatic storyteller whose presentations impart energy, insight, and valuable lessons.
Mark first came to prominence as the star athlete who burst out of the water to gold medal victory at the Barcelona Olympics, and who also boasts silver and bronze Olympic medals to his credit. He has even graced the cover of Time magazine, and been inducted into the Canadian Sports, Canadian Olympic, and International Swimming Halls of Fame.
While sporting achievements contributed to his early success, Mark’s remarkable life post-Olympics has truly defined him. Along with his international speaking career, Mark has hosted television shows, authored three books, and performed workshops around the world. He has been the Master of Ceremonies for the Dalai Lama’s Canadian appearances; was invited by the Government of France to address human rights at the United Nations in New York City; and was the Chef de Mission for the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team competing in London.
Mark sits on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Canada; is the National Ambassador for CANFAR’s Legacy Group; and is a global leader on LGBT sport issues. He is the co-founder of Great Traits, a professional development company.
For his ethical leadership and active humanitarianism, Mark has received Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Calgary.
Sridhar Rangayan (Mumbai, India)
Filmmaker, Writer and Festival Director
Sridhar Rangayan wears many caps — that of a filmmaker, writer, activist and festival director. For over two decades, he has consistently strived to give a voice to social issues in India through his films, writings and public speaking.
His award-winning films The Pink Mirror, Yours Emotionally!, 68 Pages, Project Bolo and Purple Skies present hard-hitting social issues with warmth, compassion and humour and are at the forefront of India’s emerging queer cinema movement. His latest film, Breaking Free, won the National Award for Best Editing (Nonfiction) and was selected for the prestigious Indian Panorama by the Government of India’s Directorate of Film Festivals.
He has served on the jury of such prestigious film festivals as Outfest (U.S.), Berlinale (Germany), Iris Prize (U.K.) and Movies that Matter (The Netherlands). He is the founder and festival director of the FLASHPOINT Human Rights Film Festival and the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia’s biggest queer film festival.
He is one of the founding trustees of the Humsafar Trust, which was established in 1994 and is still is one of India’s largest community-based organizations working on HIV/AIDS intervention. He served on its board for 19 years. He also was one of the core team members of Bombay Dost, India’s first gay magazine, which was launched in 1990.
He has appeared on Pink Pages’ list of the “5 most influential gay & lesbian Indians” and Mumbai Boss’ list of “The People Changing Mumbai’s Culture Scene” and was listed as one of the “21 heroes changing LGBTI Asia for the better” by the Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMA).
Olie Pullen (Montreal)
Student – Advancing the rights of transgender children
Olie Pullen is a teen who, like so many others, just finished Secondary 1, takes theatre classes, and spends time socializing with girls her own age.
But since 2013, she’s appeared frequently in the media and public arena to act as a spokesperson and push for the rights of transgender children in Québec. Only 13 years old, she’s already accomplished much to raise people’s awareness. She has met with numerous journalists to explain the realities of transgender children, the issues they face — including bullying at school and in their communities — and the strategies to address those issues.
Olie was also one of the youngest person to appear before a parliamentary committee to explain the realities of trans children as part of the public consultation process for Bill 35 and the laws connected to it. Because of how she distinguished herself through her actions in the fight against transphobia, Olie Pullen was selected as a finalist for the Ensemble contre l’intimidation prize, awarded by the Québec premier on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, in October 2015.
Hector Gomez (Montreal)
LGBTQ Immigrant Advocate
Originally from Colombia, Hector Gomez completed his studies in education. He was a university professor and professional architect for more than 25 years. His sexual orientation compelled him to immigrate to Canada 16 years ago. Since his arrival, he has been heavily involved with the LGBTQ communities.
Hector’s dedication to Québec’s LGBTQ communities is particularly impressive. Among other things, he’s the president and founder of Beyond the Rainbow (Au-delà de l’arc-en-ciel, or ADA), an organization whose mission is to support newly arrived LGBTQ persons as they join Québec society. His actions are aimed at raising the awareness of the various actors in the social arena, and of the Québec population as a whole, regarding the realities faced by LGBTQ immigrants, all in an effort to reduce the prejudice that exists.
Recipient of the “Bénévole par excellence” award, recognizing excellence in volunteering, at the 2011 Gala Arc-en-ciel, he has since earned his bachelor’s degree in social work.
Since 2005, He has also been involved with the Groupe de discussion au masculin (GDM) since 2015. Moreover, the men’s discussion group has added a section for Spanish speakers. An important community stakeholder, Hector is a staunch defender of human rights who actively promotes the importance of diversity in our society.
Mona Belleau (Quebec)
Mona Belleau, an Inuk from Iqaluit, Nunavut, has accumulated many years of experience within various Aboriginal organizations. This in addition to her volunteer work, notably for the LGBT Family Coalition, where she organizes social activities for Québec City. The mother of two has also worked with the Maori in New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
She was president of the Aboriginal student association at Université Laval and wrote the foreword for the book Jeunesses autochtones: Affirmation, innovation et résistance dans les mondes contemporains, published by Presses de l’Université Laval and Presses Universitaires de Rennes. Social justice and equality are values that have always been important to her.
Raven-Symoné (Los Angeles, United States)
Actress and Producer
Actress and producer Raven-Symoné is one of Hollywood’s most talented young stars, currently co-hosting the award-winning talk show The View and appearing in FOX’s Empire and ABC’s Blackish.
Raven is known for her role in the Disney Channel’s Emmy-nominated series That’s So Raven, which garnered her three NAACP Image Awards, two Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and a Young Artist Award.
Raven’s film credits include Garry Marshall’s The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, opposite Anne Hathaway, and Dr. Dolittle and Dr. Dolittle 2, opposite Eddie Murphy. Raven’s work as Olivia on TV’s The Cosby Show also earned her a Young Artist Award. In 2012, Raven headlined the Broadway hit Sister Act as lead Delores Van Cartier. The Whoopi Goldberg produced show was nominated for five Tony Awards.
Raven is a humanitarian who addresses issues of concern to children. She is very active with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Raven is also involved with Girls Incorporated, a national non-profit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold by providing vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas.
Guests of honour
Vincent and Bruno Boileau-Autin (Montpellier, France)
First homosexual couple to be married in France
Vincent and Bruno Boileau-Autin are volunteers with Fierté Montpellier-Tignes Pride and are invested at multiple levels.
Vincent has been president of the organization since 2008. In those eight years, it has become a major player in the region in terms of promoting LGBTQ rights, as much with male and female politicians as with the public at large. With the help of the passionate volunteers that surround him, his work as an activist has brought the organization to the top of the budgetary leader board of Pride organizers. He is ever committed to providing ever more content that is advocative, festive and available to all.
Since 2014, Bruno has been the coordinator of the InterPride+EPOA European and World Conference, to be held in Montpellier from October 11 to 16, 2016. Together with the board of directors of Fierté Montpellier-Tignes Pride, he is proud to be organizing this first for France: the first ever gathering of all the Pride’s of Europe and the world.
It was in 2006 that Vincent and Bruno met… on the Internet! At that time, 700 km separated them: Bruno was living in Paris, Vincent in Montpellier. It was in Paris that the true meeting took place, the City of Lights working its charm and magic. Ten years later, here they are married and living together in Montpellier. On May 29, 2013, they had the honour and pleasure of being the first gay couple in France to benefit from the law establishing marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in that country.
A few months later, they picked Canada as their honeymoon destination. During the trip, they discovered and fell in love with Montreal. Now they’re planning — not so secretly — to move here!
Anna Sharyhina (Kiev, Ukraine)
Director of KyivPride and Vice-president of Women Association Sphere
As vice-president of the women’s association “Sphere” from Kharkiv, since 2007, Anna’s primary activity has been in the field of feminism and the lesbian rights movement. Anna also studied interconnections between gender, sexuality and power in the present society within her post-graduate research.
In 2015, she was invited to be the head of the managers’ team of KyivPride2015, after being a volunteer in 2013 and part of the organizing committee of KyivPride2014. The Equality March is the most public and controversial action from the perspective of Ukrainian society. In 2012, the March was blocked by hooligans and radicals that city authorities were unable to cope with. However, in 2013, the March was held with the participation of the LGBT community, human rights activists and visitors from other countries. City officials corrected their mistakes from 2012 and provided the basic safety for the March’s participants. Last year, the mayor of Kyiv and local leaders publicly refused to assure security of the peaceful assembly. The organizing committee of KyivPride2014 was forced to cancel the March. This year, the Equality March took place in spite of attacks by aggressive right-wing radicals. In general, KyivPride2015 was successful thanks to the support of Ukrainian LGBT-people, human rights activists, Ukrainian and international diplomats and politicians, journalists and international LGBT-organizations.
Candis Cayne (United States)
Actress and performance artist
Candis Cayne is an American actress and performance artist. Known in the NYC nightclub scene since the 1990s, Cayne came to national attention in 2007 for portraying transgender mistress Carmelita on ABC’s prime time drama Dirty Sexy Money. Her role, as the mistress of New York Attorney General Patrick Darling (played by William Baldwin), made Cayne the first transgender actress to play a recurring transgender character in prime time television.
Cayne moved to New York in the early 1990s, making a name for herself as a choreographer and drag performer. Unaware of what a transsexual was until she lived in New York, about three years after her arrival Cayne realized that the term described how she felt about herself. Already performing as “Candis Cayne” at New York’s Boy Bar and as a featured performer at Tour in New York’s Chelsea, the entertainer also participated in Wigstock, the annual drag festival in the East Village
In 1995 Cayne appeared in the related documentary film Wigstock: The Movie, the comedy-drama film Stonewall, and the Universal Studios comedy film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, for which she also did choreography. Cayne began transitioning in 1996.
Monique Giroux (Québec)
Author, producer and radio host
Since 1986, Radio-Canada host, producer, writer and show designer Monique Giroux has dedicated herself to the promotion of French-language song, at home and abroad. A passionate advocate and promoter of our culture, she encourages and advises artists, welcoming them with originality and openness. Her warmth and her respect for the arts have built bridges between creators and the public. Monique Giroux uses radio, television, articles, conferences, books, records and performances as channels to express her passion for Québec words and music. Her efforts to promote quality music and song writing also aim to ensure the preservation and flourishing of the French language.
Since 2007, Monique Giroux has been the Québec representative on the founding board of the Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques-CFA. Monique is spokesperson for the Fondation Émergence and for Gai-Écoute, is also a member of the Académie Charles-Cros, an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France, member of the Ordre de la Pléiade, member of the Ordre des Francophones d’Amérique, member of the Order of Canada and a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec. In 2015, her civic involvement and the creation of the Québec version of the Couples Imaginaires exhibition of the works of French photographer Olivier Ciappa earned her the Laurent McCutcheon Award for the fight against homophobia and transphobia.
Dr Richard Montoro (Québec)
Dr Montoro is a psychiatrist at the McGill University Health Centre. His work focuses primarily on the mental health care of LGBT people and those who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. To this end, he co-founded the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC) in 1999, the only academic centre of its kind in Canada. MUSIC serves individuals from all over the province, offering couple and family therapy, group therapy and short-term individual therapy.
Dr. Montoro is particularly interested in educating other health care professionals around LGBT issues and teaches at both McGill University and Université de Montréal. His research interest is suicidality in LGBT youth and he has written articles and presented internationally on the effects of homophobia, sexual orientation dimensions and bullying.
Dr. Montoro received the Innovation of the Year prize in 2000 from the AMPQ (l’Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec) for the creation of MUSIC, and in 2006 he received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from AMI-Québec for his clinical work in the clinic.
Guests of honour
Linda Dawn Hammond (Toronto)
Photographer, filmmaker and journalist
Photographer, filmmaker and journalist, Linda Dawn Hammond places the many facets of her talents at the service of social justice.
Ms. Hammond has been a key player in many significant demonstrations. The most important of these is undoubtedly the shocking events that unfolded at the Sex Garage loft party in 1990, a watershed moment in the history of LGBT activism in Montréal. Ms. Hammond managed to immortalize the violence and brutality of this homophobic police raid while struggling to protect her camera from a battery of police batons.
For over 20 years, she has masterfully portrayed LGBT people and culture through various projects, including the book Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, and the film We’re here, We’re Queer, We’re Fabulous! She has also worked on a photo series called Three Part Bodyseries, where she invited members from the punk and gay communities in studio as a celebration of diversity and individuality. Parallel to her work on underground culture, Ms. Hammond created a series of self-portraits entitled Personal Needs, illustrating sexual diversity and the relationship between men and women.
Hubert Lavallée (Québec)
For as long as he can remember, Hubert Lavallée Bellefleur always dreamed of being an actor. This is what led him to complete his studies in Theatrical Performance at the Conservatoire LaSalle. Hubert starred in a few ads and had several minor television roles before being selected to play the part of Jean-Félix Ouimet in Aurélie Laflamme : les pieds sur terre. This was his first major film role. Over the few next years, Hubert Lavallée Bellefleur continued to perfect his craft as an actor.
He sought to broaden his horizons as an artist by undergoing training in television hosting as well as filmmaking. This summer, he will take part in the Montréal Pride festival for the first time as a Guest of Honour. Everyone is invited to meet and chat with him during Pride, especially on Kids’ Day, which will take place August 13 at Place Émilie-Gamelin.
Dax Dasilva (Québec)
Dax Dasilva, originally from Vancouver, is the CEO and creative mind behind Lightspeed POS, a Montréal-based software company that built commercial platforms used by over 25,000 independent retailers and restaurants around the world.
Started in 2005 in Montréal’s Village, Lightspeed embraces the diversity of its over 300 employees and is active with the Chambre de commerce LGBT du Québec to promote open and accepting workplaces.
Dax is also the founder of Never Apart, a newly-formed non-profit organization determined to bring about social change and spiritual awareness through programming with global reach and impact. Never Apart will produce Montréal Pride’s Friday night show, Village Paradise.
Francis Ishpatao (Québec)
Political Adviser for the Innu People
Kuei! Francis (Penasis) Ishpatau is from the Nutashkuan (Natashquan) Aboriginal community. With a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Ottawa and the Institut Tshakapesh, he has lived more than half his life outside his community to acquire the non-Aboriginal knowledge and tools necessary to enable him to represent the Innu (Montagnais) community well. In the words of his late grandfather Matthew, “If you do nothing for your territory and you don’t take responsibility, the government will decide everything for you.” That is what inspired him to become a political adviser: to enable him to realize the cherished dreams and projects he has for his community.
Francis advocates for his people on several levels with the goals of the survival of a proud and strong Innu nation, and the promotion of its socio-economic and community development. Francis would like the Canadian government to recognize and make reparations for the immense damage done by assimilation programs and the policy of cultural genocide enacted through the residential school system. In his culture, the concept of ownership does not exist: The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to it. The Earth is our Mother and we are her children. Tshinashkumitshinqui (thank you).
Actor, radio/television host, author and director, Jasmin Roy is among the constellation of Québec artists who have made their mark in several fields.
For Jasmin, 2010 was a banner year, with the release of his book, “Osti de Fif”, and the creation of La Fondation Jasmin Roy to fight intimidation in schools. Jasmin Roy has always championed the cause of social recognition for the LGBT community in Montréal and for communities around the world.
International Grand Marshals
Mr. Peter Tatchell
LGBT rights and human rights campaigner
Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights for over 47 years on issues of democracy, civil liberties, social equality, environmental protection, peace and global justice. He is best known for his campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) freedom. He began his human rights campaigning in 1967, against the death penalty and the Vietnam war and for Aboriginal rights in his homeland of Australia. From 1971, after moving to the UK, Tatchell was a leading activist in the Gay Liberation Front in London.
In 1988, he set up the UK AIDS Vigil Organisation to campaign for the human rights of people with HIV, coordinating the world’s first AIDS Human Rights Charter and first HIV Human Rights Conference. The following year, he helped found the HIV activist group, ACT UP London. In 1990, enraged by police victimization of the LGBT community, and official indifference to homophobic murders, he joined with others to create the queer rights direct action group OutRage!
In 1999, in London, he and his OutRage! colleagues ambushed the motorcade of the Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, attempting a citizen’s arrest on charges of torture. A repeat attempt in Brussels in 2001 resulted in him being beaten unconscious by Mugabe’s bodyguards, which left him with permanent minor brain and eye injuries.
He was bashed by neo-Nazis and arrested at the Moscow Gay Pride parade in 2007 when he attempted to march in solidarity with Russian LGBT campaigners. Peter was the coordinator of the Equal Love campaign, which helped to win same-sex marriage in the UK in 2013 and he has recently coordinated campaigns in solidarity with LGBT communities in Russia, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria and India.
Mr. Boban Stojanovic
Serbian LGBT rights activist
Boban Stojanović is one of the most prominent LGBT activists in Serbia, as well as one of the most visible LGBT activists in the Balkans. Boban has been involved in human rights issues for almost 20 years: he started his work as a volunteer in refugee centres throughout the war period in the nineties, and today he is the organizer of one of the country’s most important human rights events, the Belgrade Pride Parade.
His volunteer work in refugee centres focused on assisting and rehabilitating children. He later joined initiatives against family violence and he worked in th e feminist and peace organization, Women in Black, as a coordinator for the Network for Conscientious Objection. In 2006, he founded the Queeria Centerwith a group of friends, which has significantly contributed to the visibility of the LGBT community in Serbia. Since 2010, Boban has been one of the key organizers of the Belgrade Pride Parade.
Being one of the few openly gay activists in the country, Boban was frequently exposed to attacks and provocations. In addition to verbal threats, he was brutally beaten after a protest, and last year his apartment was vandalized by a neo-Nazi group.
Boban is a columnist for several activist web portals and is often cited in the Serbian media. He published his autobiography last year, As If Everything Was OK, and he was twice nominated for the Global Exchange People’s Choice Awards.
National Grand Marshals
Dr. Réjean Thomas
Clinician at l’Actuel, which he co-founded and where he has been president since 1984, medical advisor at the Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal (CHUM), associate doctor at McGill University AIDS Center and former special advisor to the Government of Quebec for international humanitarian action, Dr. Thomas also studied in philosophy. Founder of Doctors of the World Canada, Dr. Thomas contributed in establishing a humanist approach to medicine in Canada and abroad through humanitarian missions in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Malawi and Vietnam. He is also editor-in-chief of ViroChannel, an online social network of health care professionals interested in virology. In 2011, Dr. Thomas opened Clinique A, in Montreal, which is specialized in sexual health.
Dr. Thomas has earned international recognition through his approach as both a clinician and grassroots activist on the fight for education, prevention and research to fight prejudice and social vulnerability, advocating for human rights along and patients’ quality of life. He has contributed to numerous scientific publications and has performed several preceptorships with clinical teams from France, Argentina, and the Czech Republic, among others. A graduate of universities of Moncton, Laval and Montreal, Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards for his exceptional contributions to the progress of social causes, including the Ordre national du Québec, the Order of Canada, two Doctorate Honoris Causa, one from Université de Moncton and, recently, from University de Montréal.
Ms. Françoise Susset
Françoise Susset is a Québec clinical psychologist, as well as a couple and family therapist. Her work focuses primarily on the LGBT community and addressing sexual minority issues. Françoise is co-founder of the Institute for Sexual Minority Health, through which she offers training programs for education and health professionals in both Canada and abroad. She is particularly interested in the study of gender expressions in pre-pubescent children, helping families and schools challenge notions regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
She is also dedicated to the assessment and clinical support of transgender and transsexual adults and adolescents, during and beyond transition. For over 12 years, Françoise has worked as a trainer for a Ministry of Health and Social Services program entitled, “Towards a new Understanding of Homosexuality”. She has received recognition from the Association d’aide aux trans du Québec (ATQ) for her service and support to the trans community and was nominated by the Conseil Québécois LGBT for an award in the category of “personnalité par excellence”. Françoise Susset is a member of WPATH and is past-president of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH).
Ms. Patricia Jean
Patricia Jean is the executive director of Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of the Afro-Caribbean LGBT community in Québec. She is also the coordinator of MASSIMADI International Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ film festival. She completed her studies at Concordia University in administration and accounting and has many years’ experience in human resources and administration. She became involved with Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique in February of 2012 as a volunteer and, after a few months, she was asked to take charge of the association’s women’s committee in order to increase lesbian visibility within the community. She was then elected as a co-president in 2013 and was promoted to executive director in October of 2013. Patricia is passionate about and commited to fighting inequalities and issues related to homophobia, sexism, racism and classism.
Mr. Jasmin Roy
Actor, radio/television host, author and director, Jasmin Roy is among the constellation of Québec artists who have made their mark in several fields. For Jasmin, 2010 was a banner year, with the release of his book, “Osti de Fif” and the creation of La Fondation Jasmin Roy to fight Intimidation in schools. Jasmin Roy has always championed the cause of social recognition for the LGBT community in Montréal, and for communities around the world.
Mr. Gilbert Baker
Grand Marshal, artist and creator of the Rainbow Flag
Gilbert Baker is the American artist and civil rights activist who created the Rainbow Flag, which became the rallying symbol of the LGBT movement, in June 1978 in San Francisco. His work as a vexillographer (flag maker) spans 30 years and includes two world records. Gilbert Baker was born in Kansas 1951, and was stationed in San Francisco, just at the start of the gay liberation movement, while he served in the US Army from 1970 to 1972. After being honorably discharged Baker stayed in San Francisco and taught himself to sew. It was this skill that he put to use making banners for gay and anti-war street protest marches, often at a moment’s notice, at the request of his friend, Harvey Milk, who was later elected to office and assassinated November 27, 1978. Milk rode triumphantly under the first Rainbow Flags Baker made at their debut on June 25, 1978, for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Baker credits Milk for inspiring his work with the message of hope.
Early in 2008, Baker returned to San Francisco to recreate the banners and flags he made in the 1970s for the Academy Award-winning feature film “Milk” starring Sean Penn. Baker’s long list of accomplishments as an artist and activist include the creation of a mile-long Rainbow Flag in New York City in 1994 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot in 1969. Measuring 30 x 5280 feet and carried by 5,000 people, it broke the world record for largest flag. Unfurled past the United Nations Building before a crowd of millions, Bakers magic with fabric became a worldwide media event. Today, Google lists more than 2,600,000 references to the Rainbow Flag and another catalogued 241,000 images.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the creation of Baker’s Rainbow Flag. To mark this milestone, the theme for the 2013 Pride Parade, presented by Viagra, will be, “Our Flag, Our Life: Red”, the first colour of the emblematic Rainbow Flag, representing life. Montréal Pride is proud to have Gilbert Baker as a guest of honour and as Grand Marshal in the 2013 Pride Parade. There will also be an exhibition of his art at the Café des Arts at Place Émilie-Gamelin from Wednesday, August 14, to Sunday, August 18. Video interview of Gilbert Baker » | Edited for the ACLU by Anna Mumford
Mr. Jej Perfekcyjność
Grand Marshal, activist from Poland
Fierté Montréal continues its tradition of welcoming international activists from countries around the world in which LGBT human rights are threatened or contested. This year, the organizing committee is proud to welcome Jej Perfekcyjność (pronounced “Yay PerfecTEEnosht”), transgender spokesperson for Parada Równości, Warsaw’s equality Pride parade, as Grand Marshal for the Pride Parade. In Poland, there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples, with major opposition coming from the Roman Catholic Church, which is active politically and wields a considerable degree of influence both in state affairs and the society as a whole.
A passionate defender of equal rights, Jej is a Ph.D. student of sociology at University of Warsaw with Master’s Degrees in Sociology, Journalism and Social Communication. Jej is President of the Queer UW students’ organization, the biggest social sciences organization in Poland, and a board member of Fundacja Wolontariat Równości (Equality Volunteers Foundation). Jej has taught about sex/gender issues and about modern relationships at University of Warsaw for several years. Very often described as the “Poland’s number one queer person”, Jej is famous for fabulous dresses and combining his/her controversial lifestyle with serious scientific reflection. Jej is the most popular trans-blogger in Poland and is also involved in the European project for the integration of disabled people into the job market.
Dr. Karine Igartua
A psychiatrist advocating for sexual minorities
Dr. Karine Igartua is president of the Association des Médecins Psychiatres du Québec (Québec Association of Psychiatric Physicians), assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and co-founder of the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC) whose mission is to contribute to the mental health of the LGBT population. Dr. Igartua has worked as a psychiatrist since 1999, providing psychiatric care to sexual minorities, training for professionals throughout the Québec health network and support for community organizations. She has also conducted research on risk factors and on recommended therapeutic approaches and has been consulted by media and political organizations regarding issues related to the mental health of the LGBT community.
In particular, Dr. Igartua served as a privileged interlocutor with the government on matters related to civil unions, same-sex marriage, the rights of transgender people and access to assisted reproduction for same-sex couples. The contributions made by Dr. Igartua and MUSIC have been widely recognized both by the LGBT community and the broader psychiatric community. In fact, Dr. Igartua was nominated for the Prix Arc-en-ciel for Social Action in 2003, won the Prix de Réalisation de l’année of the Association des psychiatres du Québec in 2000, and the prize for outstanding psychiatrist from the Alliance pour les malades mentaux in 2006.
Guests of Honour
Ms. Vicky Lauzon, Ms. Maude Chartrand Paquette and Mr. Nicolas Vandal
The next generation of LGBT activists
Fierté Montréal welcomes three inspiring young people who represent the spirit and vitality of the next generation of the LGBT community. Vicky Lauzon and Maude Chartrand Paquette are two young women from the Gatineau area of Québec who received the Ruban Mauve par la Fondation Jasmin Roy for their efforts to fight bullying and homophobia in schools. The two young women, both 17 years old, founded an LGBT committee at Polyvalente Le Carrefour, their high school. Fierté is also proud to welcome Nicolas Vandal, a 23-year-old student, writer and lecturer who has given conferences on subjects related to bullying, suicide, diversity and self-acceptance for the past four years. In February 2013, he published his autobiography, “Le cauchemar de l’intimidation : J’ai failli en mourir” [The nightmare of intimidation: It nearly killed me], in which he recounts his difficult adolescent years that led him to want to take his own his life and the tools he used to regain control. The process of writing the book proved to be cathartic for him, allowing him to come out and publicly reveal his homosexuality. Since then, he says he has never felt so good in his skin and has made it his mission to fight the many forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation, disabilities or other differences.
Actor, radio/television host, author and director, Jasmin Roy is among the constellation of Québec artists who have made their mark in several fields. For Jasmin, 2010 was a banner year, with the release of his book, “Osti de Fif” and the creation of La Fondation Jasmin Roy to fight Intimidation in schools. Jasmin Roy has always championed the cause of social recognition for the LGBT community in Montréal, and for communities around the world. This fall, he will host a series of documentaries entitled “Intimidated” on Canal Vie and will launch his second book in November 2013.
Mr. Jean-Luc Romero
Jean-Luc Romero is active in many fields, both in politics and in the world of non-profit organizations. He is also the author of numerous books. These all target a single goal: the human being. He is the first and only politician in France to have revealed his HIV status in May 2002 in a book entitled, Virus de Vie (“Virus of Life”). He was also the first politician to reveal is homosexuality in the book, On m’ a volé ma vérité (“My Truth Was Stolen”), in May 2001.
He is regional council of the Île-de-France region, president of Élus Locaux Contre le Sida (French elected representatives against AIDS), of the Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (ADMD), of CRIPS Île-de-France and part of the official support committee for Florence Cassez. His strong involvement in the fight against AIDS led to his nomination in 2005 by the Prime Minister as Member of the National Council Against AIDS.
He has fought vigorously to have homophobic remarks be treated with the same severity as racist ones. He was elected “Gay of the Year 2011” by the readers of Yagg.fr.
Mr. David Testo
David Testo is a professional soccer player from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He played for the Montréal Impact from 2007 to 2011 and, at the end of the 2009 season, he received the Giuseppe-Saputo Award for Most Valuable Player. He is one of the few openly gay athletes in professional sports.
In November 2011, following a series of suicides by young gay men, David decided to speak publicly about his homosexuality, making him the first professional soccer player in North America to officially “come out”. His decision was hailed by media around the world, including the prestigious magazine, Sports Illustrated. David is the first openly gay man to be elected and to serve as a member of the US Soccer Athletic Council. He is an active member of the advisory board for the “You Can Play” Campaign, launched by Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager, Brian Burke. He is a passionate advocate for gay rights and awareness in sports and is frequently asked to speak at many events.
Guests of Honour
Ms. Line Chamberland
Long-time activist and sociologist by training, Line Chamberland has conducted several studies on discrimination against sexual minorities in various areas of life, such as school, the workplace and health and social services. She has also published many publications on the history of lesbianism in Québec as well as studies on gays and lesbians. As a researcher, Line Chamberland is part of the Groupe de travail mixte sur l’homophobie (joint working group on homophobia) whose work led to the adoption of a Québec Government Action Plan Against Homophobia, followed by a 2011-2016 Action Plan.
In November 2011, she was named Research Chair on Homophobia, a position created at UQAM as one of the key measures of the Action Plan. The first of its kind in North America, the Chair will build bridges between institutional, community and scientific milieus to fight more effectively against homophobia and transphobia.
Ms. Julie-Maude Beauchesne
Journalist, publicist and political scientist, Julie-Maude Beauchesne is an activist who takes the advancement of the rights and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender people to heart. For the past nine years, she has been involved in organizations and projects that have touched many different realities, such as Jeunesse Lambda and AlterHéros, where she invested much time and energy as a volunteer since 2004. She served in many positions within the organization and, as president, she led a complete reform of the organization, for which she received the award for Volunteer Excellence at the Arc-en-Ciel Gala.
Concurrently, she has represented the trans community within the Groupe de travail mixte contre l’homophobie (joint working group against homophobia) and the Collectif de travail LGBT (LGBT work collective), which worked on the development of the first Government Action Plan Against Homophobia. Within the CQGL, she also championed the collective effort that led to the first Trans Claim Plan, which has been filed with the Québec Ministry of Justice.
Ms. Kat Coric
Kat Coric is recognized as one of the few female, heterosexual artists to work within the contemporary gay circuit party subculture as an activist and an ardent supporter of LGBT rights. She represents an established an ever growing part of society where gays and straights mingle together professionally and socially. With her collaborators she has produced numerous projects and events with the focus on HIV education for youth.
Mr. Jasmin Roy
Actor and radio and television host, Jasmin Roy is among the constellation of Québec artists who have made their mark in several fields. For Jasmin, 2010 was a banner year, with the release of his book, “Osti de Fif” and the creation of La Fondation Jasmin Roy to fight intimidation in schools. Jasmin Roy is also a familiar voice on Rythme FM radio.
Jasmin Roy has always championed the cause of social recognition for the LGBT community in Montréal, and for communities around the world.
Me Alice Nkom
A lawyer since 1969, Alice Nkom was 24 when she became the first black woman to enter the Cameroon Bar Association at a time when practicing law was almost exclusively a male endeavour. Despite the difficulties she faced, and through many battles fought and positions taken, she won the admiration and respect of her peers in the profession.
Throughout her legal career, which has spanned over forty years, Alice Nkom has always been driven by a passion to champion justice and win against the odds, with a natural spirit of leadership that has made her a lawyer unlike any other. Often described as stubborn by the people who know and love her, she is a woman of courage, of law and duty, even when she faced threats to her life.
In addition to being a woman of law, Alice Nkom is a woman inspired by important causes and deeply-held beliefs. She has dedicated her entire life to fighting for gender equality, for respect and for human dignity. As an activist, she has earned international recognition for promoting democracy, the establishment of state rights and freedoms, respect for human rights, for protecting the environment and for her fight against AIDS and against the illegal emigration of young Cameroonians.
Mr. Jasmin Roy
Actor, reporter and columnist, Jasmin Roy is among the constellation of Québec artists who have made their mark in several fields. After creating the hit show Les Gaydailles, which was performed as part of the Just For Laughs Festival and the Montréal Pride Celebrations, Jasmin Roy resumed his role in the popular TV comedy series, Caméra Café on TVA. He continues to produce weekly features for Rhythm FM Radio and the TV morning show, Salut Bonjour. He also contributes regular columns to the popular Dernière Heure and Le Lundi magazines. For Jasmin, 2010 was a banner year, with the release of his book, “Osti de Fif” as well as a new show for the Just For Laughs Festival and for the Montréal Pride Celebrations, Les Gaydailles contre-attaquent ! In December 2010, Jasmin Roy created the La Fondation Jasmin Roy to fight intimidation in schools. In January 2011, he took on a new challenge as co-host of the Deux gars le matin morning radio show on Rythme FM. Jasmin Roy has always championed the cause of social recognition for the LGBT community in Montréal, and for communities around the world.
Mr. Kaspars Zalitis
Kaspars Zalitis is a human rights activist and a board member of LGBT and their friends alliance “Mozaika”, the only functioning gay rights organization in Latvia. Kaspars was born in Venstpils, a seaside city in West of Latvia. He has studied and taken deep interest in Public Relations. For almost 15 years he has volunteered in various youth and human rights organizations. Currently he works for Latvian Centre for Human Rights. Kaspars joined “Mozaika” in 2006 and since then has been actively involved in the organization of Prides, being a head security coordinator for all Riga pride parades from 2007 on as well as the challenging 2010 Baltic Pride in Vilnius, which involved discussions with the police and other security authorities to ensure the safety of all participants. Kaspars has represented “Mozaika” in countless international events with Amnesty International, at InterPride conferences and Pride parades all over the world.
Ms. Kristine Garina
Kristine Garina is one of the founders of LGBT and their friends alliance “Mozaika”, the only functioning gay rights organisation in Latvia. Kristine was born and raised in Riga, Latvia. In 2000, she graduated from the University of Latvia Institute of International Relations, where she earned a master’s degree in economics. In her day to day job, Kristine is working in business. She has been actively involved with organizing prides in Riga since 2006 and was one of the authors of the idea of the Baltic Pride which successfully took place in Riga in 2009 and in Vilnius in 2010. In her involvement with the organization of Prides, Kristine has been responsible for parade logistics of the parade route. In light of difficulties “Mozaika” had to face with the Riga city council authorities and numerous bans or attempts to ban Riga pride parade. Kristine has been actively involved in International Relations representing “Mozaika” at various international LGBT themed events such as InterPride conferences, Pride London, Europride etc.
Jasmin Roy and Michelle Blanc will be the spokespersons for the 4th edition of the Montréal Pride.
Ms. Michelle Blanc
One of the first to hold an Electronic Business M.Sc. with a specialization in management, Ms. Blanc is known for the many scientific, educational and popular projects she leads and produces here in Canada. She hosts the michelleblanc.com blog, which has become one of the favourites of the French marketing magazine, Stratégies.fr. She also has recently been named Yahoo Canada’s Big Idea Chair personality and the third most influential woman in Canadian social media. Her blog is classified as one of the most influential francophone blogs in the world, according to many sources. www.michelleblanc.com
Mr. Jasmin Roy
Jasmin Roy has been active on the cultural scene for many years now and is no stranger to the world of television. From Chambres en ville to Salut Bonjour and Caméra Café, he is equally at ease in the role of host, reporter or actor. After creating the hit show Les Gaydailles, which was performed as part of the Just For Laughs Festival, and acting as spokesperson for the 2009 Montréal Pride Celebrations, Jasmin Roy resumed his role in the popular comedy series, Caméra Café on TVA and returned as the host of La Tribune d’Occupation Double. He continues to produce weekly features for Rhythm FM Radio and the TV morning show, Salut Bonjour. He also contributes regular columns for the popular Dernière Heure and Lundi magazines. For Jasmin, 2010 was a banner year, with the release of his book, “Osti de Fif” published by Les intouchables. And, of course, he is back with a new show for the Just For Laughs Festival and for Montréal Pride, Les Gaydailles contre-attaquent (“The Gaydailles Strike Back!”). Jasmin Roy strongly believes in the social recognition of Montréal’s LGBTA community, as well as the importance of visibility for worldwide LGBTA communities.
One of the first to hold an Electronic Business M.Sc. with a specialization in management, Ms. Blanc is known for the many scientific, educational and popular projects she leads and produces here in Canada. She hosts the michelleblanc.com blog, which has become one of the favourites of the French marketing magazine, Stratégies.fr. She also has recently been named Yahoo Canada’s Big Idea Chair personality and the third most influential woman in Canadian social media. Her blog is classified as one of the most influential francophone blogs in the world, according to many sources. www.michelleblanc.com
Jasmin Roy has been in the cultural field for many years now and is no stranger to the world of television. From Chambresenville to Salut Bonjour and Caméra Café, he is equally at ease in the role of host, reporter or actor. Jasmin Roy can be heard every weekend on 98.5 FM where he hosts Le magazine du week-end, a variety show. Mr. Roy strongly believes in the social recognition of Montréal’s LGBTA community, as well as the importance of visibility for worldwide LGBTA communities.
Very early on, Nicole Brossard, poet, novelist and playwright, was involved in many different avant-garde movements in Québec poetry: she was co-founder of the influential literary magazine La Barre du jour (1965-75), organizer of jazz and poetry performances at the Youth Pavilion at Expo’67, co-founder of the feminist newspaper Les Têtes de pioche (1976-1979), and was associate director of La Nouvelle Barre du jour (1977-1979) and the ‘‘Réelles’’ collection (1979-1981). In 1982, she founded her own publishing house under the name L’Intégrale, éditrice.
She has won the Governor General’s Award twice, once for Mécaniquejongleuse (1974) and again for Double impression (1984). In 1991, she was awarded Québec’s highest literary honour, the Athanase-David Prize. In 1993, she was made a member of L’Académie des Lettres du Québec. Most of her books have been translated into English. Her taste for romance writing developed with the publication of her novel Un livre (1970). Many other novels and books of poetry followed, leading up to her latest work, Baroque d’aube (1995). Nicole Brossard is a committed feminist and her book of essays, La Lettreaérienne, influenced an entire generation of feminists.
On October 18, 1997, to celebrate her work in the field of arts and literature, the University of Sherbrooke awarded an honorary doctorate in literature and communication to poet,novelist and essayist Nicole Brossard.
Jasmin Roy is no stranger to the world of television. From Chambresenville to Salut Bonjour and Caméra Café, he is equally at ease in the role of host, reporter and actor. He also has extensive experience in radio, both as a host and cultural reporter.