Eight vacant board of director positions were filled at Capital Pride’s annual general meeting on Oct 19, including the election of six new faces.
The board bid farewell to outgoing members Ken James, Lauryn Kronick, Chris Centeno, Jason Hanson-Lavigne and Matt Florczyk. Loresa Novy replaced outgoing chair Doug Saunders-Riggins.
Novy and Jonathan Dawe will continue their terms on the board, along with Michael Lafontain and Joanne Law, who were reelected. Newly elected members are Steven Crosby, Chris Ellis, Roísín Holahan, Guy Hughes, Murray Lavigne and Sarah Orovan.
Loresa Novy is fast becoming a very familiar face in Ottawa’s queer community. A long-time member of the Ottawa Police Service liaison committee for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, she was vice-chair of Capital Pride in 2011; her term ends on Nov 21.
Novy works as the Ottawa Day of Pink coordinator and is manager of hepatitis C programming at Jer’s Vision. She is also the festival coordinator for the Inside Out Ottawa-Gatineau Film Festival, which opens on Nov 17.
Novy says she is happy to be one of the few female chairs elected to Capital Pride, and she is eager to start work with the new board.
“This year, over half of our board is new, and I am looking forward to their fresh ideas. In addition, we have returning board members that will be able to share their valuable experiences,” she says. “As chair, I would like to take on more fundraising efforts and have some more events available outside of Pride Week.”
Steven Crosby is a new face in Ottawa and at Capital Pride. The board looks forward to working with Crosby and introducing him to the city.
Chris Ellis has recently returned to Ottawa from Vancouver, where he was a member of the Vancouver Pride board. He is excited to join Capital Pride and says the current members have all the right skills, experience and enthusiasm, as well as a lot of community support behind them.
“All Pride celebrations are part of a worldwide movement for the respect of universal human and civil rights. One of the best things about Pride is that activism can take the form of marching out and loud, providing support to places and people who don’t enjoy the same freedoms we do in Canada or raising awareness by simply attending events — and it’s so much fun!” he says. “I am looking forward to seeing Capital Pride become one of the premier Prides in North America.”
Guy Hughes began organizing events for Ottawa’s queer community as president of the gay-straight alliance at Sir Robert Borden High School. He says his aim then was to raise visibility and increase tolerance, understanding and acceptance of queer students. In 2011, he coordinated Capital Pride’s partnerships awards and gala.
Hughes, 21, is the youngest member of the board and has been nominated vice-chair of communications. He thinks Capital Pride plays an active role in the community and helps increase visibility of queer issues.
“Being a member of the pride movement means being proud to be gay. It means working to promote equality and social justice for the LGBT community,” he says. “I dream of the day that everyone will be free to live their lives openly, without fearing persecution or unjust treatment from those who do not support their gender identity or sexual orientation. Being part of the pride movement means doing everything in my power to make that dream a reality.”
Roísín Holahan is not only new to Capital Pride, she is new to Ottawa. Originally from Ireland, she moved to Ottawa with her husband early in 2011. She is a business teacher who also works in financial services.
After moving to the city, Holahan became involved as Pride’s volunteer assistant to the treasurer; she has now taken on the role of sponsorship coordinator. She is enthusiastic and says her own pride lies in “discovering, welcoming and celebrating diversity.”
Murray Lavigne has been an active member of the Ottawa Knights for 22 years. Besides hosting the annual Mister Leather Ottawa competition and other fetish events, the Knights are known for fundraising activities that help local organizations. As a long-time member, Lavigne says he strives to educate the community about the leather fetish lifestyle.
In 2011, Lavigne was the coordinator of the Capital Pride parade, which had more than 95 floats and more spectators than ever before, making it one of the largest parades in Ottawa’s history.
Sarah Orovan lives and works in Ottawa and was a volunteer at Capital Pride in 2001. She declined to be interviewed for this story.