NEWS: AN EVENT FOR OPEN MINDS, OPEN HEARTS

Check this out in the Ottawa Citizen

AN EVENT FOR OPEN MINDS, OPEN HEARTS
by Caroline Phillips 

One longs for a day when schoolyards are as inclusive as the Government Conference Centre was last Wednesday as host venue for the 8th Annual JersVision.org and Day of Pink Gala.

Hundreds of people decked out in pink attended the free gala honouring former governor general Michaëlle Jean, swimming icon Mark Tewksbury and CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi for their work in promoting diversity and fighting discrimination.

Tewksbury, who flew in from Calgary, knows first-hand the pain of anti-gay bullying. “It was a life-changing moment for me in Grade 8 when I went to school and had ‘fag’ on my locker, and it kind of plagued me for years,” said Tewksbury, who went on to win an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and serve as chef de mission for Canada at the London 2012 games.

The event was presented by Jer’s Vision, a non-profit founded by Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient Jeremy Dias. His youth diversity initiative runs workshops in schools and communities across the country on issues of bullying, homophobia and discrimination.

Dias said he still fields questions from students wanting to know how he came to be gay. “I was in Brampton just last week and I got the exact same question: ‘When did you choose to be gay?’ And I never chose it, it’s always just been who I am.”

Among the VIPs seen arriving were Netherlands Ambassador Wim Geerts (the Netherlands was first to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001), Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, featured singer Stephanie La Rochelle, MPP Yasir Naqvi and Coun. Mathieu Fleury.