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July 16, 2013
Posted in: Update
Good News – Exciting Times

This month the President’s message is going to be short and sweet as there is much to say about Toronto PFLAG’s April 15th Ally Award Gala Reception at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.

Some Toronto PFLAG highlights during March, included speaking to the congregation at Applewood United Church on Sunday, March 10th. Applewood United is going through the process of becoming an Affirming Congregation and Toronto PFLAG was happy to be asked to travel a small part of their journey with them.

Two Toronto PFLAG moms also had the privilege of speaking in two TDSB elementary schools, on March 27th to Grade 6 students, and March 28th to students in Grades 2, 3, 4 and 5. Administration and staff in both schools were wonderfully supportive, and the children listened, commented and asked questions, and were very keen to know how our gay ‘kids’ were doing today.

I have commented before that often when we complete a high school presentation or speak in a business setting, some individuals will stay behind and ‘connect’ with us to share something about their lives or the lives of family members or friends.

I was so touched that this also happened in both elementary schools, and it reinforced in my mind that elementary school students are the ones we should be talking to about diversity; about treating everyone with respect; and about homophobic bullying. Elementary students know what we are talking about. They are aware of the fact that some of their classmates are being treated differently and are still open to suggestions as to how they can change their attitudes and behaviours to ensure everyone in their classroom feels accepted.

I really do love my life – and my job, albeit one with no pay and no set hours. Volunteering with Toronto PFLAG and sharing the load with so many other wonderful volunteers truly makes me happy.

On April 15th, we will get an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful, celebratory evening at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Please note:

1. This year guests enter at 263 Yonge Street.
2. For Wheelchair access – email office@pflagtoronto.org
3. ASL interpreting services will be provided.

Together we will to honour Allies who have served our community by their caring and commitment to ensuring others’ rights, and by being positive role models.

I want to thank Mr. Brian Burke, last year’s recipient of Toronto PFLAG’s Ally Award who has continued to be an ally. Unable to attend our May 2012 Ceremony at City Hall to recognize the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Brian sent his message of support to be read by our e-newsletter Editor and PFLAG Dad Jim Callaghan.  Brian and his son Patrick of ‘You Can Play’ both marched with us in 2012’s Pride Parade! Families helping families… that’s PFLAG!

And now to speak about this year’s honorees. I am so excited that the four Allies receiving our Award will attend our event where you will have the opportunity to not only hear them speak, but the added opportunity to let them know how much you appreciate what they have done for families like ours.

We honour the three MPPs who through their collaborative efforts ensured all-party support and passage of TOBY’S ACT, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression;  Dr. Cheri diNovo, Ms. Christine Elliott, and Hon. Yasir Naqvi.

Also being honoured is multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner Ms. Sharon Gless for her tireless contributions to the LGBTQ community, both off-screen and on-screen including her groundbreaking role as a PFLAG Mom on Queer as Folk, where she portrayed Debbie Novotny, a mother who loved and was proud of her son, and made sure everyone knew it!

Acknowledging all four individuals as positive role models and allies, Toronto PFLAG is proud to turn the spotlight on them at our April 15th event, and I hope you will be there to join us.

Speaking at our event are our special guest speakers Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, and Toronto Police Chief, Bill Blair.

Entertainment will include the wonderful music of Dora award winner John Alcorn, and performances by members of the cast of The Wizard of Oz, including Lisa Horner, the Wicked Witch of the West.

There will be lots of exciting moments including a special Guest appearance by multiple Emmy award winner Rosie O’Donnell!

Adding to the party spirit of the Event is our emcee, a Toronto PFLAG ally himself, the incomparable Mike Chalut of the Mike Chalut Show.

As well as all this wonderful talent and entertainment guests will enjoy delicious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres from Absolutely Famished, and enjoy complimentary drinks provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Steam Whistle Brewery, and PepsiCo Beverages.

This is Toronto PFLAG’s major fundraiser of the year, and there will be a Raffle table loaded with goodies you will want to win – so come feeling lucky and prepared to buy Raffle tickets and you could be taking home one of the wonderful prizes listed in the newsletter. In case you are not lucky enough to win a Raffle Prize – there will be a ‘loot bag’ for every guest – so don’t leave without yours!

Pictures of last year’s event are on our website, and you can see how much fun it was for everyone! If you missed last year’s event, you do not want to miss this one! It will be a night to remember!

Tickets can be purchased online at www.torontopflag.org/gala or email office@pflagtoronto.org or come to our Support Meeting on Wednesday April 3rd and buy your tickets there.

Excitedly yours,
Irene

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