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Pride Legacy Awards honour LGBT leaders in Vancouver

Third annual awards highlight diversity of community activism

The 2015 Pride Legacy Award recipients (from left): Pat Hogan, Scott Fullerton, Don Presland, Ryan Hunter, David C Jones, Al Houston, Caroline Doerksen. Absent: Jody Jollimore./Tallulah)

The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) once again showcased the rich and diverse culture of activism in the LGBT community at its third annual Legacy Awards, presented at the Roundhouse Community Centre May 28. 

“It’s hard to imagine that the everyday equality that we take for granted is the result of hard-fought battles won in recent memory,” VPS general manager Ray Lam told the audience. “While it’s easy to dwell on how much farther we’ve got to go, the Legacy Awards are focused on celebrating how far we’ve come.”

“Giving to the community what was given to me is a blessing,” said Al Houston, recipient of this year’s Community Leaders award.

(Al Houston accepts his Community Leader award. /Tallulah)

Houston was honoured for his work with the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society, where he works to create safe, supportive and welcoming environments for other two-spirit people like himself.

“You remember the fun times you had when you first started out in the community,” Houston told the audience, recalling his days at the Dufferin pub in its heyday. “And then, when it seems like there’s really no one there, you step right in and you help to take charge.”

For her extensive work with a variety of queer organizations, Pat Hogan took home the Lifetime Achievement award. 

(Pat Hogan accepts her Lifetime Achievement award./Tallulah)

Since moving to Canada in 1969, Hogan has advocated for women rights, created lesbian space, founded the BOLD festival for older lesbians and dykes, organized the Menopausal Old Bitches and Vancouver’s same-sex ballroom dancing group, Not So Strictly Ballroom, and served on the boards of both the Vancouver North American Outgames and the Federation of Gay Games.

Though she’s already done enough work to merit at least one lifetime recognition award, Hogan has no plans to slow down: “The only thing I can say is . . . it’s not over yet!”

(Jody Jollimore accepts his award for sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness./Tallulah)

Jody Jollimore says he first tried to change public policy in high school, when he tried to convince the administration to install condom dispensers in bathrooms. While he didn’t win that fight, he has since contributed to policies regarding HIV awareness and testing, access to post-exposure prophylaxis for consensual sex and access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

He is now pushing for an HPV vaccination program for boys and men with the Health Initiative for Men, where he works as a program manager. Jollimore also helps coordinate condom and lube distribution, and has worked on several harm reduction programs, including a crystal meth outreach program. He received this year’s award for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS awareness.

Don Presland was recognized for his extensive volunteer work with the award for Volunteer of the Year.

(Don Presland accepts his Volunteer of the Year award./Tallulah)

Having spent 20 years in the sex trade before exiting seven years ago, Presland now devotes himself to supporting other sex workers from the LGBT community. He co-founded How U Survive This Lifestyle Everyday (HUSTLE) — Men on the Move, an outreach program that provides direct services to male sex workers, and he talks to youth in schools about the realities of working in the sex trade. He was also involved in a national study of gay sex workers, called Under the Radar.

“Bringing a voice to some of the boys who are still out there, to help them find a way out, is something that I’m pretty proud of,” he said.

Presland said he’s also particularly proud to volunteer with Clean, Sober and Proud.

(David C Jones accepts the Legacy Award for art./Tallulah)

Artist, actor and filmmaker David C Jones took home the Legacy Award for art, for his passionate commitment to stoking and supporting our community’s creativity, and for making us laugh, through improv, the Tops & Bottoms show that he created, and a dozen short films to date. Jones can regularly be seen hosting and performing at a variety of community events.

Art is so important, Jones told the audience, because it inspires people to connect with each other and with community.

Ryan Hunter was recognized for his work creating safe, inclusive and accessible spaces for trans people and their allies. 

(Ryan Hunter accepts his award for creating safe spaces./Tallulah)

Hunter worked with local event producers to make women’s-only events more accessible to trans people. He also helped start the SAIGE Community Food Bank, which provides fresh produce, baked goods and a safe space for trans and gender-variant people. In 2013, he was approached by the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre to develop a community kitchen.

Hunter said he couldn’t contribute without the generous and ongoing support from his community around him. With the freedom and support to transition and live his own life fully, he’s been able to give back and try to fill gaps for others.

(Scott Fullerton accepts his award for sports./Tallulah)

Scott Fullerton received the sports award for his decade of volunteering with the Vancouver Gay Volleyball Association. Fullerton was instrumental in bringing in the North American Gay Volleyball Championships to Vancouver in 2004. He also volunteers with the West End Slo-Pitch Association.

For her work with Simon Fraser University’s Out on Campus collective, and especially her initiative to bring the collective to the school’s Surrey campus, Caroline Doerksen was honoured with the Legacy Award for youth.

(Caroline Doerksen accepts her award for youth./Tallulah)

Doerksen is also active with Surrey’s LGBT youth activist group Youth For A Change, the New West Pride Society, and the advisory committee for SheTalksYVR, styled after TEDTalks with topics that impact and empower women.

She was humbled by the recognition.

“No words can fully describe how thankful I am from the bottom of my heart, for all of you who have paved the way before me,” Doerksen said. “I hope I can make you proud following in your footsteps.”