2014 Honoured Positions
Honoured Positions are awarded to local individuals or groups that have contributed significantly to the LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities. Each honouree leads their respective march or parade during the festival.
The awards are given based on the individual or group’s:
- History of work with respect to the LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities.
- Significant contribution and accomplishments to the public, private or non-profit sectors.
- How the honouree embodies this year’s Pride Toronto theme, which is “Rise Up”.
All honourees are residents of the Toronto Area.
HONOURED TRANS* INDIVIDUAL
Monica Forrester has lived and worked in the LGBTQ community for over 20 years; working tirelessly to bring awareness, inclusion and accessibility for marginalized trans* folks.
In 1999, she was the first outreach worker to serve the low-income and street-active trans* community through The 519 Church Street Community Centre. She has worked in various agencies to educate and make accessible services for Transwomen Black Cap, Pasan, Elizabeth Fry, and Maggie’s Toronto. She produces a bi-monthly zine called "Trans Pride Toronto," which fosters a connection for trans-identified people within the community and abroad. Monica also co-produced "Remembering the Living", a short video on the lives of 2-spirit indigenous sex workers.
Monica was named the 2012 LGBTQ2S Person of Year at the Inspire Awards and given the EGALE Person of Colour Award.
Dr. Alex Abramovich
Dr. Alex Abramovich has worked in the area of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, and 2-Spirited (LGBTQ2S) youth homelessness for seven years. Alex is a nationally recognized leader in the area of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and is one of the only Canadian researchers studying the phenomenon of queer and trans* youth homelessness.
Alex’s PhD research investigated what is holding up and sustaining homophobia and transphobia in Toronto’s shelter system, how homophobia and transphobia occurs and is managed in the shelter system, and how broader policy issues serve to create oppressive contexts for LGBTQ2S youth. His work has already had an impact on policy, where he is collaborating with the Toronto City Council to help improve the ways LGBTQ2S youth homelessness is addressed, as well as the state of the shelter system. Alex is committed to research that successfully and ethically engages the community and situates LGBTQ2S people experiencing homelessness as knowledge makers and creators.
HONOURED TRANS* GROUP
Trans PULSE is the largest study of trans people in Canada and one of the largest in the world involving 538 participants. Data gathering concluded in 2010 but Trans PULSE findings are still being published and used in policy forums, health care and community settings. This community-based research study has broken new ground on several fronts. Firstly, it has provided a detailed and reliable picture of the health and life circumstances of Ontario’s Trans* communities showing the widespread discrimination and invisibility faced by trans* people as well as their resilience. Secondly, in a reversal of the way most studies are done, the project was launched by community members who chose the principal investigators, and the study team included a majority of trans* people. Over a seven year period, a commitment to supporting leadership by the trans* community ensured the integrity and accountability of the project.
As a seasoned management consultant, Connie Bonello brings over 15 years of global executive level experience. She is currently the Financial Services Sector Executive, Industry Smarter Solutions Team at IBM and provides business analytics solutions and services to banking and insurance organizations. Connie has provided consulting services to a number of organizations across Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Connie has been an “out” and active leader in the LGBT community for almost 30 years. She is currently the co-founder and managing editor of QueerBio.com, an advisory board member of the Mark Bonham Centre at the University of Toronto and a founding member of exeQutive. She was also the IBM Canadian Leader of the Teaching Respect in School program. She has spoken globally on leading practices on global LGBT workplace policies including, Intrabank Forum in New York City, Stern Business School, NYU, Columbia LGBT Chamber of Commerce Launch in Bogota, Out on Bay Street, Pride at Work Canada, and Out and Equal Summit in London.
Connie holds a MBA, Schulich School of Business, York University and a BA (Honours) in Economics, York University.
HONOURED DYKE GROUP
Toronto Fierce Femme Organizers
The Toronto Fierce Femme Organizers/Artists/Educators are Kim Milan (Crosby), Catherine Hernandez, Gein Wong, Chanelle Gallant, Sedina Fiati, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Dainty Smith, Monica Forrester, Belle Jumelles, Anna Camilleri, Allyson Mitchell, Vee Stun, and Masti Khor.
In order to keep a community strong, a whole force of equally strong leaders need to build and maintain it. Toronto's queer community is filled with such amazing diversity and activism and that can only survive and be relevant with the strength and persistence of organizers like these. Regardless of what organizations these individuals belong to, they are a group themselves, a group that works both together, in tandem, and individually to ensure that the community maintains its dynamism and effectiveness.
Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes C.M.
Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, C.M. has been the Senior Pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto since 1977, where he has been at the forefront of ministry to the LGBT community and has helped thousands of LGBT people and their families. He has also served the community at large with distinction, championing several human rights initiatives. He is the recipient of three honourary degrees, and in 2007 he was made a member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada, for his stand on social justice and human rights within the LGBT communities. This is the highest award a country has bestowed on a gay activist. He has constantly challenged the church to examine important issues such as prejudice against gays and lesbians, inclusive language, as well as ordination of women. In 2001, Rev. Hawkes officiated the first legal marriage of a gay or lesbian couple in the history of the world. He has played a significant role in promoting the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Ontario Human Rights Code, and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
2 Spirits Toronto
The first meeting of 2 Spirits Toronto took place at the 519 Church Street Community
Centre on January 22, 1989. Since this initial gathering, 2 Spirits Toronto has grown in membership and in scope. In response to the AIDS crisis, 2 Spirits Toronto took an active role in education and prevention strategies within Aboriginal communities. 2 Spirits has been at the forefront of raising awareness, within the Aboriginal communities throughout Canada, of the impact that HIV and AIDS has on the 2 Spirit people of the 1st Nations.
They are the only Aboriginal non-profit organization in Canada that offers services and support to Two Spirit People and to all Aboriginal people living with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.