Casey Oraa, Queer Ontario: If I had to nominate anyone, the two groups I’d advocate for would be the trans health lobby and the youth at St Joe’s Catholic school. Both have done and continue to do excellent work in our communities and beyond.
Doug Elliott, lawyer, CAP panel member: My vote goes for Brent Hawkes. Surprisingly, he has never been grand marshal despite a lifetime of service to our community. He has been recognized by our nation with the Order of Canada but not by our LGBT community with this honour. His service to our community as leader of CAP this past year was exceptional.
Michael Erickson, teacher, politician, activist: Obviously the students working on the GSAs in Catholic schools would be a perfect fit. I think Leonardo Zúñiga is constantly doing great work and building bridges across subcultures and identities. I also think Ill Nana is an emerging force that could use a spotlight like this to propel them even further. And Suhail Abualsameed. I think he might be one of the least recognized and most effective advocates for LGBTQ rights, especially for newcomers and youth.
Kim Koyama, Proud of Toronto: A lot of people I’ve met over the past year through Pride Coalition for Free Speech and the fight over Pride deserve recognition. But I’d say the GSA students are a no-brainer.
Tyler Johnson, Pride Toronto youth coordinator: Many youth in our community deserve to be recognized for their unique efforts to combat homophobia and transphobia, to raise awareness around human rights issues, or to volunteer their time making a difference in their community. Leonardo Zuniga, Lali Mohammed and Leanne Iskander are great examples of youth who deserve to be recognized.
Roy Mitchell, Pride Toronto board member: If there can’t be a community grand marshal this year, I hope that the business award winner is a bathhouse. Because the raids were 30 years ago and that will curl toes in the 905ers’ loafers.
Susan Gapka, trans activist: There are a number of local trans activists regularly overlooked; Martine Stonehouse, Rupert Raj, Kyle Scanlon, Mirha-Soleil Ross, Boyd Kodak, for example. Nonetheless, I would be satisfied with amending the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Codes to include “gender identity and expression.”