Community Hero Awards

NSRAP’s Community Hero Awards ceremony is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate key individuals and groups who have demonstrated dedication to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. In the past, the awards were an annual celebration, with the last ceremony taking place in 2014. This year, we are bringing the Community Heroes Awards back. We are excited to recognize and celebrate the great work that has been taking place over the past few years!

In past years, NSRAP has presented four awards: the Reverend Darlene Young Community Hero Award, the Raymond Taaval Media Award,  the Turret Stewardship Award and the Leighann Wichman Lifetime Achievement Award. These awards have been named in honor of key community members who demonstrated a commitment to 2SLGBTQIA+ equity in Nova Scotia. This year, we are adding two further categories. The Social Justice Arts Award is for community individuals and organizations whose work centres 2SLGBTQIA+ voice(s) and relates to social justice and transformation.

The Special Recognition Award is dedicated to those whose work that may fall outside of the four previous award criteria. We hope that this new category will allow us to acknowledge and uplift some of the powerful work taking place in our community that deserves recognition and celebration, but may not fit within a specific award category. The details of each award can be found below, including the historical significance of the award, what the award recognizes, and details about the Special Recognition Award we are introducing this year.

Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 24, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Rev. Darlene Young Community Hero Award

NSRAP created this award in 2008 as a means of recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ* communities in Nova Scotia. It is named after the late Reverend Darlene Young, a former NSRAP board member and pastor of the Safe Harbour Metropolitan Community Church.

Past recipients include the Valley Youth Project, Karen Finnegan (a social worker), Marshall Haywood (operator of Venus Envy Halifax), Eric Smith (AIDS activist), Kim Vance (LGBTQ activist with ARC International) and Daniel MacKay (publisher of Wayves).

Raymond Taavel Media Award*

Recognizing an individual or organization for work in the traditional or social media educating the public on news or issues affecting the LGBT community. This Award has been renamed in 2012 to honour the memory of Raymond Taavel – a gay community activist who worked in the media as a Wayves editor/contributor and as an employee of the Shambhala Sun.

Past recipients have included CBC Radio One’s Mainstreet & Maritime Magazine (for coverage of LGBTQ issues) and Jesiah MacDonald (for his public advocacy for trans* rights).

Turret Stewardship Award*

Recognizing an organization that has significantly enhanced the capacities of Nova Scotia’s LGBTQ community. This award is named for the late ‘70s LGBTQ community-run social space in Halifax’s iconic Khyber Building.

Past recipients include the AIDS Coaliton of Cape Breton, prideHealth, and Northwood.

*Please note: the NSRAP Board of Directors will only select a winner in this category if they feel there is a truly outstanding nominee.

Leighann Wichman Lifetime Achievement Award

This award was created in 2015, to honour an individual who’s long term commitment to LGBTQ activism and leadership has had immeasurable impact on the lives of LGBTQ people across Nova Scotia. The award is named Leighann Wichman, who was a dedicated leader, educator and advocate in the LGBTQ community. Wichman was a founder and longtime executive director of the Youth Project.

Inaugural recipient: Lynn Murphy

Social Justice Arts Award

Recognizes those whose work centres 2SLGBTQIA+ voice(s) and relates to social justice and transformation. Nominees may include:

  • Those working in any arts-related discipline, such as music, writing, visual art, theatre, dance and performance
  • Those whose work celebrates or explores 2SLGBTQIA+ themes
  • Those who use their artistic expression and platform to promote social justice
  • “Behind the scenes” creative industry professionals (e.g. stage managers, curators, sound technicians, programmers etc.) who use their role to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community

Special Recognition Award

For the 2017 Community Heroes Awards we are introducing a new, broader category. The Special Recognition Award is a means of identifying, honoring, and documenting the contributions of 2SLGBTQIA+ community members. For this award, the nominator recommends a nominee and the theme or merits they aim to highlight with this award. This award recognizes:

  • “Unsung” advocates – individuals, groups and organisations –  who engage in work behind the scenes
  • Those who are catalysts for change through promoting social justice
  • Those who engage in teaching, counseling, advocacy, role modeling, or other roles that support members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community
  • Those who contribute to the community by providing a safer and comfortable space for all members
  • Those who engage in work that supports, empowers and/or advocates for individuals and groups who are marginalized even within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, including BIPOC members, people with disabilities, members with less resources (e.g. those experiencing poverty/working class/low or no income)
  • Those whose work focuses on marginalized issues that are not picked up in mainstream 2SLGBTQIA+ organizing efforts

Nominations and Selections:

Using this form, tell us who you’d like to nominate and why, providing as many relevant details about the contributions of the individual, group or organization as you can. Providing compelling and relevant information will help the NSRAP Board to evaluate the nominations and make decisions. We accept and encourage self-nominations from individuals and organizations. We will prioritize 2SQTBIPOC nominees in our award decisions. We will present one award for each award category.

For questions or more information, please email

Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 24, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Award winners will be selected by the NSRAP Board of Directors.

The Awards Ceremony:

The 2017 Community Heroes Awards Ceremony will take place in early May. More details will be announced in the coming weeks!

© 2013 Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project | Site Admin