Pink Shirt Day is an annual event in Canada that aims to raise awareness about bullying and promote kindness and acceptance. While there are many individuals and organizations who have contributed to advancing the discussion on LGBTQ2+ issues in Canada, here are a few notable heroes:
- George Hislop: A Canadian LGBTQ2+ activist who played a key role in the gay rights movement in Toronto. Hislop was one of the founders of the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT) in 1971, which was the first Canadian gay rights organization. He also fought against police harassment of the LGBTQ2+ community and helped establish Toronto’s annual Pride parade.
- Svend Robinson: A former Member of Parliament who represented Burnaby, British Columbia from 1979 to 2004. Robinson was the first MP to come out as gay, in 1988, and he became a strong advocate for LGBTQ2+ rights in Parliament. He introduced several bills to advance LGBTQ2+ rights, including a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, which eventually passed in 2005.
- Egale Canada: A national LGBTQ2+ human rights organization that was founded in 1986. Egale has played a significant role in advancing LGBTQ2+ rights in Canada, including advocating for changes to federal and provincial laws, and supporting LGBTQ2+ youth through its outreach programs.
- Randy Boissonnault: A former Member of Parliament who represented Edmonton Centre from 2015 to 2019. Boissonnault was appointed as Canada’s first LGBTQ2+ special advisor by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016. He worked to advance LGBTQ2+ rights in Canada and globally, including advocating for the decriminalization of homosexuality in other countries.
- Kim Campbell: A former Prime Minister of Canada who served in 1993. Campbell is notable for appointing the first openly gay person to a senior position in the federal government, Chris Broughton, who served as her chief of staff.
- Marni Panas: A transgender rights advocate and public speaker who has been instrumental in advancing transgender rights in Canada. She has spoken widely on the topic of transgender issues and has worked with businesses, organizations, and governments to develop policies and programs that support transgender individuals.
- The 519: A community centre located in Toronto that provides services and programs to LGBTQ2+ individuals and their allies. The 519 offers a range of programs, including counselling, social support, education, and employment services. It also hosts events and activities, including the annual Trans March, which is the largest march of its kind in Canada.
- Douglas Elliott: A lawyer and gay rights activist who has played a key role in advancing LGBTQ2+ rights in Canada. Elliott has been involved in a number of landmark cases, including the Egan v. Canada case, which challenged the exclusion of same-sex couples from spousal benefits under the Canadian Pension Plan.
- The Rainbow Railroad: An organization that works to help LGBTQ2+ individuals escape persecution and violence in their home countries. The Rainbow Railroad provides support and assistance to individuals who are facing persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and helps them to resettle in safer countries.
- Ryan Stevenson: My son and personal hero for showing leadership on Pink Shirt day from high school onward. He is noted for a powerful presentation “coming out” in front of hundreds at a high school event that forever impacted the lives of many.
These individuals and organizations have all played important roles in advancing the discussion on LGBTQ2+ issues in Canada and have helped to promote greater acceptance and equality for all Canadians.