Please join Capital Xtra at the annual Hero Awards, recognizing the work of those who are working to make Ottawa a better place for the queer community. After two months soliciting nominations from readers, Capital Xtra released the list of finalists for the 2007 Hero Awards in late September (see below). Join us at the awards evening where the winners will be announced:
Fri, Oct 12, 2007.
Grand Salon, Crowne Plaza Ottawa.
101 Lyon Street.
Tickets are $20 and are available at After Stonewall, mother tongue books, Capital Xtra and Venus Envy. Dessert bar included. Cash bar opens at 6:30pm.
Check out the list of nominees below:
POLITICAL ACTIVIST OF THE YEAR:
Shannon Blatt is a lawyer and trans activist living in Ottawa. She was instrumental in planning trans month in Nov 2006 and has been actively campaigning to solicit promises from provincial candidates to re-list sex reassignment surgery in Ontario through the Trans Human Rights Campaign. She even extracted the mayor’s signature during Pride Week. She also sits on the board of directors of Pink Triangle Services.
Nathan Hauch is the Co-Chair of the Ontario NDP LGBT Committee and a Carleton University graduate student, where he is actively involved with CUPE 4600, which represents TAs and contract instructors at Carleton. A former coordinator of Pink Triangle Youth, he has also been involved with the Police Liaison Committee and the Rainbow Youth Advisory Committee of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa.
Kaj Hasselriis was the interim executive director of Egale Canada from December to April. He was a stabilizing force for the organization during a difficult period. A past mayoral candidate in Winnipeg and an Ontario NDP organizer, Hasselriis brought his political instincts to the battle against a Conservative bill to raise the age of consent, and argued that any age of consent bill should harmonize the age of consent for anal sex.
COMMUNITY ACTIVIST OF THE YEAR:
Ricky Barnes and Glenn Crawford are the forces behind Ottawa’s push to designate a portion of Bank Street as The Village. Barnes is an outreach worker at Pink Triangle Services. Crawford is a local graphic designer who often donates his time to community groups in need of his skills. Both were invited to be community advisors to Bank Street redevelopment after pressuring city hall to hear from queer voices.
Brad Thomas has been a driving force for the recognition of queer employees at Statistics Canada. Thomas also works as a steward for his union, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPS), for which he received a citation in 2001. After receiving the honor, Thomas successfully lobbied the PIPS Committee on Human Rights to get PIPS some visibility in Ottawa’s pride parade. As well, Thomas volunteers with Public Service Pride. Thomas is known for his generosity in donating his time at events aimed at helping the queer community.
Ariel Troster is a writer and activist. She is a regular contributor to Capital Xtra and also runs Dykes Against Harper, a political blog. She was a driving force in the 2007 Dyke March and she helped organize the resistance to the Canada-USA-Mexico Security And Prosperity Partnership at the recent summit in Montebello.
YOUTH ACTIVIST OF THE YEAR:
Alex Kennedy is the coordinator of the University Of Ottawa Pride Centre. He has worked on a number of projects throughout the year to both support the university’s queer community and raise awareness about queer topics in the broader population. As someone who grew up in Ottawa, Alex has been able to help high school students better understand gay and trans issues through his work with students at that level.
Jade Pichette is a member of Trans Youth Ottawa, a 2006 Pink Triangle Services upstart. Pichette has become a familiar face of TYO and of Ottawa’s queer community at events like Pride and the Rainbow Youth Forum. Pichette is also a member of the Student Coalition Against War, which has been active in protesting both Canada’s role in Afghanistan and the Iraq War.
Mike Wiseman is the coordinator of the Carleton queer centre. Last year, he organized the only protest of the Conservative motion to re-open debates on same-sex marriage. He’s been spotted asking pointed questions of politicians at public meetings in order to secure safer sex material for Carleton students. He was part of the team that organized Ottawa’s first frosh week targetted at queer students.
ACHIEVEMENT IN THE ARTS:
Ladyfest Ottawa is organized by a collective of young, hip women who bring queer-positive music, film, art and workshops to Ottawa. Ladyfest Ottawa celebrated its sixth year in September. Events included a concert by Kickers, DIY workshops and the now infamous Not Your Grandmother’s Craft Sale. Ladyfest Ottawa is part of a movement of grassroots-organized festivals that showcase women’s talent. The first Ladyfest was held in Olympia, Washington in 2000.
Toto Too was founded by five queer theatre buffs: Denis Schryburt, Mark Webster, David Ferguson, Nancy Clue and Marc Barrette. They mounted their first production, William & James in March and a second production, Theatrelife, in August. The company not only provides theatre aimed at gays and lesbians – filling a void left by Act Out in 2005 — but supports queer Canadian playwrights in their choice of productions. Watch for their next production this winter.
Venus Envy has one of the most active workshop schedules in the city on a variety of sex-positive topics. They carry a wide variety of gay and lesbian books and toys at their Lisgar St store. The bookstore has run a bursary program for women since 2000. Venus Envy has become a hub of author readings and arts shows, often the most queer-visible part of the Ottawa literary circuit.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR:
The Habit have been playing in Ottawa for several years. Lead by the charismatic Darren Rogers, the band has burned up nearly every concert hall in the city. They made waves with “Fighter”, a song about the same-sex marriage battle. Their new disc, The Sacred And The Profane, has become a staple in queer and straight circles alike. The Habit have donated their time to many local charities, including Capital Pride and Jer’s Vision.
Mackenzie MacBride is known for her glam-rock story-songs (with her band, the Supermodel Syndrome) and her quirky spoken word pieces. She’s played a variety of club gigs throughout the last 12 months, recently landing big breaks at West Fest and Pop Montreal. A civil servant by day, she’s donated her time to Ten Oaks and Ottawa’s bird sanctuary.
Glenn Nuotio is a Newfoundland transplant, having moved to Ottawa in 2006. He’s brought his camp, cabaret-inflected style and sexually frank lyrics to Café Dekcuf, The Rainbow Bistro, Zaphods and Barrymores. He’s shared a bill with Kelly and the Kellygirls, Laura Barrett, Camera Obscura and others. During Pride Week, he played to a packed audience at the Manx as a benefit for the Ten Oaks Project.
AIDS ACTIVIST OF THE YEAR:
Adam Graham is the Gay Men’s Prevention Coordinator at the AIDS Committee Of Ottawa. Graham was instrumental in organizing Snowblower, a month-long gay and bi men’s health fair. A fixture of political and activist events, Graham is known for bringing his work into the community — rather than letting people come to him. With Nicholas Little, he’s been on the leading edge of the fight to keep harm reduction strategies like Ottawa’s safer inhalation program running.
Nicholas Little has been the Men’s Outreach Coordinator at the AIDS Committee Of Ottawa since April 2006. Little and Adam Graham stirred the pot with Snowblower in 2007, an event they hope to make annual. Little has been a big part of the ACO’s raucous poz- and poz-friendly parties. And with Graham, he’s fought tirelessly to keep harm reduction as part of Ottawa’s drug strategy.
Corey Wong has been an outreach worker to the Asian community with Pink Triangle Services since January 2007 and a writer for the Canada China News (in Mandarin). He does bar outreach, bringing safer sex messages to Ottawa’s Asian community. He’s also worked with the AIDS Committee Of Ottawa and Bruce House.
SPORTS & ATHLETICS:
Robert Meagher is a lifelong golfer who loved to Ottawa from Halifax in 1998. Shortly after he moved he joined the, then young, Ottawa Out Golfing Group, eventually becoming the group’s coordinator. He developed a marketing campaign to promote the golf to the queer community including the group’s first website, media exposure including in the Ottawa Citizen, Flagstick Golf Magazine and Capital Xtra, and presence at local trade shows such as LGX. In 2006, membership more than doubled from 16 to 36 members. This year, membership more than tripled over 2006 numbers to 110-plus members. The highlight of this season’s Ottawa Out Golfing Group schedule was their first tournament, which featured queer golfers from across Ontario and Quebec playing for over $20,000 in cash and merchandize prizes. The part-fundraiser helped to generate over $1,200 for the Bruce House.
EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD:
Miss Jenn has been an active member of the BDSM community for more than six years, and opened Breathless, an alternative lifestyles community centre and private club two years ago. Her mantra of “Education and Exploration” keeps her focused and she works tirelessly to offer a safe and friendly space for people who are interested in all alternate lifestyles. Her volunteer work for five years to help produce Mr Leather Ottawa has earned her Honourary Membership in the Ottawa Knights, making her the first and only ever female member in this men’s club. She has taken part in many GLBTQ oriented events, including Snowblower, Mr Leather Ottawa, LGX, Pride ’07, Livingroom Party with ACO, and Leather Fest and looks forward to a long, healthy and active relationship with the queer community.