On Thursday, May 17th, the LGBTQ communities of Halifax will mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Halifax’s Grand Parade at 6 p.m. (RSVP via Facebook)
This year’s theme is “Reclaiming our space, reclaiming our rights.”
All attendees are encouraged to reclaim public space by wearing the colours of the rainbow or clothes with a message (e.g. “Some girls marry girls. Get over it.”), carrying rainbow flags or displaying signs or banners. Show your pride!
ASL interpretative services will be provided for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The rally will begin at 6 with presenters including the Youth Project’s Queerios; Hugo Dann from the Rainbow Refugees Association of Nova Scotia; students from the GSA Network, local artist Leona MacDougall; JJ Lyon, a founding member of Safe Harbour Church; Krista Snow, chair of Halifax Pride; spoken word artist Dez Adams; and Jesiah Macdonald who has recently launched a human rights complaint against MSI relating to transgender medical care. Kevin Kindred, a board member for the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) will act as master of ceremonies.
During the rally, several community groups will be present so attendees can take action by becoming informed and finding out how they can do more. Groups will include the Youth Project, Amnesty International, the Nova Scotia employees’ LGBTI Network, representatives from Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Rainbow Refugees Association of Nova Scotia, the Allies at Dalhousie, the Elderberries, and NSRAP.
Following the presentations, Rebecca Rose, the Maritime Organiser for the Canadian Federation of Students, will guide attendees in forming a human chain down Barrington Street and around the Grand parade in a community act of reclaiming space.
Those who have generously donated to offset the costs, including Transition House Association of Nova Scotia and a private donation from Jalana Lewis and her fellow Dal law students.
Detailed descriptions and links to relevant presenters and groups can be found below.
- Kevin Kindred (master of ceremonies) – Kevin is a Halifax lawyer and activist. He has worked with the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) for many years as a chair, director and spokesman.
- Queerios – The Queerios are comprised of members of the Youth Project; a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing support and services to youth, 25 and under, around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Youth Project promotes and nurtures environments that are appreciative of youth from all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds. To find out more, visit their Web site.
- Hugo Dann – A long-time activist in Halifax’s queer community, Hugo has worked with a variety of organizations and is one of the founding members of the Rainbow Refugees Association of Nova Scotia. Rainbow Refugees is a volunteer-run community-based resource for Nova Scotians interested in LGBTQ asylum issues and international rights. Hugo will speak to the history of IDAHT in Halifax and to concerns for LGBTQ rights internationally. To find out more, visit their Facebook page.
- GSA Speakers – The Gay/Straight Alliance Network is a coalition of student groups from across Nova Scotia. Each group is focussed on creating safe spaces for discussion of issues of sexual and gender identity for both LGBTQ students and their allies. GSAs also serve an important role as an organizing point for school-based activism. Representatives from a variety of GSAs will speak to their experiences. To find out more, visit their Web site.
- Leona MacDougall – Singer-songwriter -poet and lover of humanity; Leona MacDougall creates words and melodies as invitations to explore new and honest ways of being with the world. Living in Waverley Nova Scotia, surrounded by trees and lakes she is inspired by nature and believes in healing and communication through the arts. She will perform her musical piece, “Something New.”
- JJ Lyon – An ordained minister with the Metropolitan Community Church, JJ was a founding member of Safe Harbour Community Church. JJ was also a pastor in Fredericton and continues to be involved in religious gatherings here in Halifax. JJ will speak to reclaiming spiritual space.
- Krista Snow – Krista has been active in numerous community groups and is the current chair of Halifax Pride. This year, Halifax Pride will celebrate its 25th year with a week of activities, including the Queer Acts theatre festival, community events and culminates on July 28th with the Pride parade and festival. Krista will speak to the memory of activist Raymond Taavel, a former Halifax Pride chair. To find out more about Halifax Pride, visit their Web site.
- Dez Adams – Dez has been performing spoken word since 2007 at a variety of venues, ranging from open mic nights to CBC Radio to arts festivals to fundraisers. Dez is also an actor who has appeared in numerous made-for-TV movies.
- Jesiah MacDonald – Jess is 24 years old, born and raised in New Glasgow. Jess doesn’t see himself as an activist but considers himself a “quick study.” Recently, with the help of Bridgewater lawyer Kathryn Dumke, he launched a human rights complaint against MSI when he was denied coverage for a medically necessary hysterectomy because MSI deemed it to be part of his transition. Jess will speak about his experiences.
- Rebecca Rose – Rebecca is the Maritime Organiser for the Canadian Federation of Students. She is Nova Scotian feminist and queer activist with a passion for accessible education. Rebecca is also involved in organizing the Halifax Dyke and Trans March. Rebecca will guide attendees in forming a human chain down Barrington Street.
- Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights. We are three million strong and each day we stand in solidarity with – and help protect – individuals and communities around the world whose human rights are under attack. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The LGBTI Network is a collective of government employees of the Province of Nova Scotia that are working to create and maintain supportive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex employees. Members of the Network include people who identify as: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, intersex, queer, or questioning, as well as people who identify as allies. Contact: lgbti_network.gov.ns.ca.
- The Youth Project is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing support and services to youth, 25 and under, around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Youth Project promotes and nurtures environments that are appreciative of youth from all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Web site: http://youthproject.ns.ca.
- May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we have representatives from Stop It ASAP!; a model for sexual assault awareness, empowerment, and youth engagement/mobilization designed by Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in partnership with the YWCA-Halifax Finding Leadership in Young Women (FLY-W) Program and the Girl’s Action Group at Citadel High School. Web site: http://women.gov.ns.ca/saam.
- The Canadian Federation of Students was formed in 1981 to provide students with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally. The Federation takes action on a number of equity issues, including increasing access to post-secondary education for marginalized groups; challenging all forms of oppression including racism, homophobia and transphobia on and off campus; ending date rape; and ending the ban on blood donation from men who sleep with men. Web site: http://www.cfs-fcee.ca
- The Rainbow Refugees Association of Nova Scotia is a volunteer-run, community-based organization dedicated to raising awareness about LGBTQ asylum issues and international rights. Rainbow Refugees serves as a resource for LGBTQ refugee claimants already in Nova Scotia and for people interested in sponsoring refugees to come here. Rainbow Refugees strives to bring awareness to the challenges LGBTQ citizens face in other countries and motivate people to action. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rainbow-Refugees-Association-of-Nova-Scotia-RRANS/258400020856258
- The Allies at Dalhousie exist to support students, staff, and faculty of the Rainbow community by encouraging the University to welcome and respect its diversity. Allies will work with students, staff, and faculty to provide programs, services, training, support, referral, and resources on Rainbow issues at Dalhousie. Web site: http://dal.ca/dalally
- The Elderberries is a social group for LGBTQ Nova Scotians aged 50+. The group has monthly events in Halifax consisting of a speaker followed by a potluck social. If you are fifty or older; lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or two-spirited and looking for a mixed social group beyond the bar scene, the Elderberries are here for you. Web site: http://nsrap.ca/elderberries
- The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) seeks equality for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. NSRAP seeks to foster change in our communities and our society at large so that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and included. We will achieve this through community development, networking, outreach, education, and political action. Web site: http://nsrap.ca