On May 14th we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Jer’s Vision – along with the transition to our new name, the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity. It was a fabulous evening honouring 4 fantastic Youth Role Models, featuring some amazing performances, and with the most excellent of company – including some great speeches and sentiments shared.
The definitive highlights of the evening were the award winners:
Told the story of our love through song
Rufus Wainwright has been through it all. Since coming out, he has been a strong LGBTQ advocate fighting for the values of Oscar Wilde, expressly stating that LGBTQ people need to be accepted for being themselves, and not fitting into a box. Since marrying his partner, Jörn Weisbrodt, they have been advocates of equal marriage and LGBTQ rights internationally, representing us proudly on the international stage.
Changed our notions of gender, class, & race
Gein Wong is an interdisciplinary director, playwright, spoken word poet, composer & video artist. Noted for her 500 person performanceSay Their Names, Remember which opened the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, she is the Artistic Director of Eventual Ashes & Asian Art Freedom School. She teaches through challenging our notions of things we take for granted, and helps us to understand each other through art.
Made it legal to have LGBTQ books in Canada
Janine Fuller is Canadian business person & writer. Leaving Toronto as a youth, she rode the rails to Vancouver where she landed a job as manager of the Little Sister’s Bookstore & Art Emporium. When Canadian Border Services held up LGBTQ material at the border, she championed the Supreme Court of Canada case that made it legal to import LGBTQ material (from poetry to pornography) into our country. She a pioneer for anti-censorship & gender equity.
ReDefines the Canadian identity by being himself
Andre Morriseau understand what it means to be different. The son of French, Scottish & Ojibwe parents, he has an advocate and ambassador of Indigenous art and public affairs. Fiercely out, he advocates for space for two-spirit & LGBTQ Indigenous people across Canada, volunteering his time at the Ontario Arts Council, ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, and the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.
The 10th Anniversary Gala was opened with a traditional indigenous welcome by Blu Waters. We were so grateful that she was able to join us. Jully Black a Canadian R&B artist, singer-songwriter, and actress opened the evening performance wise – featuring a powerful, personalized edition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah as a tribute to Rufus Wainwright.
The evening was MC’ed by Gavin Crawford who succeeded in keeping everyone engaged. His performances featured visits by “Premier Wynne” as well as an unexpected return to the stage by “Rufus Wainwright” to say a few words. His energy helped make the evening a tremendous success.
Kay Kassirer shared two remarkable, enlightening and moving poems. It was especially touching for all of us to see Kay perform as they have participated in our programming and is close to us at The CCGSD. Last but not least, Kevin Forestell, his gorgeous voice, and his accompanists closed out the evening on a high note.
The evening was a tremendous success and raised $20,000 – which went to aid in the financing of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance Forum which was happening that same week, hosted at Glendon College in Toronto.
We would like to thank those who attended: the sponsors of the evening, all the performers, and of course the award winners. Special thanks to our Platinum Sponsor, TD but also to everyone else listed below.