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November 3, 2013
Posted in: Update
Cross Border Connections

buffaloWhat do PFLAG Buffalo Niagara and Toronto PFLAG have in common?  Quite a lot, including the goal of eliminating bullying from our schools, as we have been finding out in conversations that began at the Toronto booth during Toronto Pride 2013 when Brian LaBella, Vice President of PFLAG Buffalo Niagara stopped by for a chat!

The opportunity to support one of their ventures, meet with the Board members and supporters of a partner PFLAG, and do some cross-border information sharing was too good an opportunity to miss, so on October 20th my husband Gary and I drove to Buffalo to attend PFLAG Buffalo Niagara’s screening of the movie Bully.

The drive between our two cities took less than 2 hours, and this bodes well for future collaborations including Toronto World Pride 2014 when we are expecting to be joined by our American friends at Pride!

PFLAG Buffalo Niagara had asked permission to copy our bookmarks, had their version proudly on display, and reported that they were proving to be hugely popular!  We were happy to help – families helping families – the PFLAG way!

We also met their dedicated team of volunteers who in many ways are very similar to the wonderful folks who do the work of Toronto PFLAG.  With a shared Vision, Mission, and goals, we found we had loads in common, and the conversations we started at Pride will be the building blocks to future cross-border relations and information sharing.

For any of you who travel to Buffalo from time to time, check if there is a Support Meeting or event planned and drop by, and consider dining at the Left Bank restaurant (reservations required) where we were treated to a delicious dinner.  Our thanks to all at PFLAG Buffalo Niagara for the warm welcome given us.  We look forward to reciprocating and welcoming you to Toronto PFLAG events, including our December 18th theatre outing to Aladdin.

pepsico

PepsiCo:  On October 17th, Mary-Anne Popescu and I made a presentation at PepsiCo with a focus on bullying.  Mary-Anne read from the speech on bullying written by her son Simon which is on our website.

This speech reminds us all that bullying continues in our schools today, and compels us to continue speaking out against it.

In recognition of Spirit Day, almost everyone in attendance wore something purple!  PepsiCo have been very generous in their support of Toronto PFLAG, and we thank Christine and her team for arranging for our visit.

Transgender Day of Remembrance –  November 20, 2013  7-9pm

I have borrowed some prose from the notice on the 519’s web-site to share information on this important date and event.  If you have not participated in the past, try and make time on November 20th to attend the 519.  Read the full blog on the 519 website.

Annually, The 519 and Toronto’s trans communities join the international community to mark and commemorate those trans members of our communities who are no longer with us. This event serves as a memorial, a protest, an opportunity for reflection and a chance to see old friends and meet new ones.

‘to honour in death those who have been so dishonoured in life’

 The 519 acknowledges not only transphobia as a root cause of violence in our community, but also the various forms of oppression in our culture that increase violence, and limit protections for many members of the trans community. We remember everyone lost to transphobia, racism, ageism, ableism, sex-worker stigma, classism, HIV stigma and homophobia.

 Violence has impacted our communities and is not only an intentioned act – it is also an act of neglect. Violence affecting trans communities includes cuts to social spending, and depleting the social safety net.

 The impact of violence on the trans communities is pervasive. For many the vulnerability is constant.

I hope Hallowe’en was fun whether you dressed up and partied or shelled out and treated yourself to some mini candy bars.  November will be busy with lots of community activities and on December 18th I hope you’ll join us for a magic carpet ride at Aladdin!

With hugs and warm wishes,          

Irene Miller

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