​​All Blood is Equal Coalition welcomes changes to blood donor policies at Canadian Blood Services

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Today’s decision by Health Canada to authorize Canadian Blood Services to change its approach to blood and plasma donor screening ends a decades-long discriminatory ban which has targeted Two-Spirit, gay, bisexual, and queer men, trans women, and other men who have sex with men (2SGBTQ+/MSM). 

 “Today’s change in blood donor policies at Canadian Blood Services is long overdue and marks a significant victory in our efforts to end the discriminatory blood ban,” says Toby Whitfield, Chair of the All Blood is Equal Coalition. “For decades the blood ban perpetuated homophobic and transphobic discrimination against the 2SLGBTQ+ community. While our work will continue, today’s announcement is an important step towards righting this wrong.”

The Coalition will continue its work in the months ahead to support reconciliation between our community and blood operators,  address testing processes that continue to limit individuals who take PrEP and PEP from donating blood,  ensure the introduction of appropriate training for frontline blood donor staff,  advocate for the same regulatory change to be adopted by Hema Quebec and work to address other challenges that continue to exist.

Activists, 2SLGBTQ+ organizations, students’ unions and labour unions have long advocated an end to this discriminatory ban. A lifetime ban was introduced in 1992 and changed to a 5 year deferral period in 2013. This deferral period has been shorted since 2013 but remained discriminatory because any ban reinforces the idea that blood donated from the 2SGBTQ/MSM community posed unique public health risks, which is false.

The All Blood is Equal Coalition is a national coalition of Canadian organizations committed to ending Canada’s discriminatory blood donation ban.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride is hiring 

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Capital Pride is currently hiring students for summer positions to help coordinate the 2022 Capital Pride Festival.

The available positions are:

The positions are full-time from Monday, May 16 to Friday, September 2 and are paid at a rate of $17.00 per hour.

Applicants are asked to submit a resume and cover letter to recru[email protected] no later than Thursday, May 12 

Eligibility 

It is expected that this position will be supported by the Canada Summer Jobs Program. As such, applicants must meet the following requirements:  

  • Have been registered as full-time students in the current academic year and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in September 2022;
  • Be between the ages of 15 and 30 at the start of employment;
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada;
  • Be legally entitled to work according to provincial legislation and possess a valid Social Insurance Number; and
  • Not be in receipt of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits at the start of the job.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride condemns convoy participants’ homophobia and transphobia

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Ottawa community members are the ongoing targets of hate speech, hate crimes, and harassment from participants in the downtown Ottawa convoy. As disruptions continue throughout downtown Ottawa, there continues to be reports of community members being the target of hate speech, hate crimes and harassment. 

Ottawa’s Centretown has a long and proud history of being a home for LGBTQ activism and community. Today, residents are afraid to leave their homes, and have been subject to intimidation and harassment for displaying the pride flag in their homes and in their neighbourhoods. When residents do walk their streets, they are faced with homophobic and transphobic slurs and signs. Even online, Ottawans have been the target of harassment. These troubling events occurred alongside widely reported incidents of harassment, racism, anti-Semitisim and other troubling and violent conduct.

As a consequence of the ongoing disruptions, front-line community organizations — including health services — have had to limit services or suspend operations. We recognize this has a profound impact on 2SLGBTQ+ people as well as all residents and community members.

Demonstrations that allow such hateful conduct to go unchecked have no place in our city. 

There is nothing peaceful about homophobia and transphobia, racism, xenophobia, or anti-Semitism. There is nothing peaceful about the forced closure of front-line health centres and community services. There is nothing peaceful about schools, vaccination clinics and city services having to close. There is nothing peaceful about the emotional and psychological impact of being harassed in your own community.

Those who live, work and learn downtown deserve to feel safe and supported in their own community. Individuals should have access to health care services and front-line community services. Families should have access to childcare and schools.

It is time to restore peace in our City.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
[email protected]
613-680-3033

Volunteer Opportunity: Join our Board of Directors

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Anticipated start date: March 1, 2022
Commitment: 10-15 hours per month

Capital Pride is committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. Applications from all qualified candidates are welcome and, in particular, applications are encouraged from members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, racialized persons, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV/AIDS, older adults and seniors, francophones, immigrants and newcomers, women and gender diverse folx.

Description

Do you want to be part of the dynamic and passionate team that provides direction and management to the largest Pride festival in the region? Capital Pride is looking for several new board members to contribute to the organization’s strategic direction and growth, provide sound governance and advice to the Operations team, and serve as ambassadors within the community.

Capital Pride brings together a team of dedicated staff and volunteers to make the Capital Pride Summer Festival happen each year, as well as a myriad of year-round events. The mission of Capital Pride is to create opportunities to celebrate, advocate, educate and connect people, respecting the full diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ communities in the National Capital Region – the unceded and unsurrendered traditional land of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.

Skills & Qualifications

Board Members are responsible for ensuring the success of the organization by attending board meetings and contributing strategic oversight; helping to develop, implement and monitor policies; designing the creation or expansion of programs and services, fundraising and reviewing the organization’s budgets and other financial activity; representing Capital Pride in the community and to the media, and; assisting with growth and development in other ways.

We are looking for a group of candidates who, together, will have a broad range of experience and contribute an array of skills that will benefit the organization and who reflect the diversity of the community we serve. Skills and experience that are welcomed include (but is certainly not limited to):

  • Communications, marketing, media or public relations
  • Planning and/or implementing advocacy strategies and campaigns
  • Large-scale events management
  • Non-profit governance and administration experience
  • Experience with, or involvement in, 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume that outlines the experience and skills you will bring to Capital Pride to [email protected]. Capital Pride will recruit for the position of Executive Secretary, and 1-4 other Directors-at-large to the Board of Directors. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, deadline for submission: February 7, 2022.

Want to learn more about the Capital Pride team and the role of our Board of Directors? 

  • Book a one-on-one meeting with a member of the Team, sign-up for a meeting here
  • Get in touch via email at [email protected] 

Interested in other volunteer roles with Capital Pride? 

We’ll be recruiting Team Leads to help organize the 2022 Festival starting in February. Team Leads take on leadership roles, helping to organize the parade, street festival and pride pageant and coordinate social media and communications, volunteers and backstage logistics. We’ll be posting further information about these roles in February on our social media and capitalpride.ca. 
We’ll also be recruiting Festival Week Volunteers throughout the summer. Volunteers help at events throughout the Festival including the pride parade, main stage, street festival and youth events.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride announces Queer, Trans, Black and Proud: a month of programming in recognition of Black History Month

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This February, Capital Pride is proud to present Queer, Trans, Black and Proud a month of programming that celebrates and honours the Queer and Trans Black community. The programming is being organized in recognition of Black History Month. 

A variety of events will take place each week including a panel discussion featuring a Black leader within the 2SLGBTQ+ community;  a youth art workshop in partnership with the Ottawa Art Gallery;  a night of music, drag and performances; a keynote event with Canadian writer and activist Kim Katrin Milan; and a performance by Canadian artist Desiire as part of the NAC’s Friday’s at the Fourth. Further details and a full line-up of events is online at capitalpride.ca.

Recognizing the evolving nature of COVID-19, we anticipate some events will be delivered virtually while it is hoped that events later in the month will be delivered in a hybrid format. All programming will align with public health guidance and details will be shared in the lead-up to each individual event.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride applauds its partnership with Bilingual Ottawa

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This year, Capital Pride received support from Bilingual Ottawa’s microgrant and today we are pleased to update the community on accomplishments achieved thanks to this funding. The Bilingual Ottawa grant allowed the Capital Pride Festival to increase its linguistic accessibility by expanding programming and delivering events bilingually.

In particular, the grant supported:

  • Simultaneous interpretation and captioning of 3 panel discussions and 1 keynote presentation (from English to French).
  • The development of a panel discussion focused on gender-diverse francophone perspectives within the 2SLGBTQ community, which was also simultaneously interpreted and captioned.
  • The creation of a bilingual children’s colouring book. 
  • The translation of marketing materials and web content.  

The project’s programming engaged 2,400 people directly and reached over 24,500 indirect participants.

“The support of Bilingual Ottawa has been crucial in helping Capital Pride to deliver important programming in a more linguistically accessible way, while also highlighting the particular perspectives of French-speaking members of the National Capital’s 2SLGBTQ+ community,” said Francesco MacAllister-Caruso, Capital Pride’s Director of Francophone Affairs. “Bilingual Ottawa’s investment into our community-based projects has helped to strengthen our city’s bilingual character and continues to play an invaluable role in creating a more inclusive community, in line with Capital Pride’s mission.”

“ACFO Ottawa and the Bilingual Ottawa program are honored to have supported the bilingual initiatives of Capital Pride and help community based initiatives create their own space. It is important for us that all communities are represented in the language of their preference,” said Patrick Pharand, Bilingual Ottawa Program Manager.

About the Bilingual Ottawa Grant

Bilingual Ottawa is a microgrant funded through the federal government’s Canadian Heritage Action Plan for Official Languages and is administered in Ottawa by the Association des communautés francophones d’Ottawa.  38 projects received support through the program, including Capital Pride. For more information please visit https://acfoottawa.ca/bilingualottawa

About Capital Pride

Capital Pride creates opportunities to celebrate, advocate, educate and connect people, respecting the full diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The 2021 Capital Pride Festival took place August 23-29. For more information, please visit www.capitalpride.ca

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More information

[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride welcomes Throne Speech commitment to banning conversion practices, will continue to advocate to end the discriminatory blood ban.

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Capital Pride welcomes the Government’s commitment to finally ban conversion practices. Conversion practices cause serious harm, perpetuate stigma and have been widely discredited. In recognition of the serious impact of conversion practices, any legislation to ban these practices must be comprehensive in scope, provide funding and support for survivors and include a public education campaign.

This summer, Bill C-6 which banned conversion therapy died when Parliament was dissolved. Following the election, Capital Pride, along with 100 other organizations, signed onto No Conversion Canada’s Community Call to Action, calling on Parliament to ban conversion practices and support survivors. 

The Call to Action provides a detailed set of criteria that the legislation must address. It is available here: /bit.ly/3bqMh0r 

Absent from the Throne Speech was a commitment to end the discriminatory blood ban. We welcome recent news that Canada Blood Services has announced it will seek regulatory approval to move from a discriminatory screening process to a behaviour based approach. However, we will continue to work with the All Blood is Equal coalition to push for an end to the blood ban without further delay. More information about the campaign is available here: www.allbloodisequal.ca

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More information

[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride to host Priyanka as part of her Taste Test Tour, November 18 at The Bronson Centre Theatre

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Ottawa, ON – Capital Pride is pleased to announce that it will host drag superstar Priyanka in Ottawa on Thursday, November 18 as part of her Taste Test Tour, promoting her new album Taste Test.

Capital Pride has taken on the event, with proceeds going to the organization. The show was cancelled by the original promoters, but will now go on, on the same date, with tickets available through capitalpride.ca, and at the original location, Bronson Centre Music Theatre.

“Capital Pride is pleased to be able to bring Priyanka to Ottawa and share this amazing show with our local community,” said Toby Whitfield, Executive Director of Capital Pride. “In line with our commitment to the local drag community, we are also excited to provide an opportunity for local drag performers to share the stage with this iconic performer.”

“We are thrilled to host Priyanka and the local drag performers at Bronson” said Lisa Zbitnew, co owner of the venue.  I’ve had the opportunity to see her perform, and Ottawa is in for a very special treat.  We hope to do many more drag performances here and support the community and the local drag talent. It’s been a tough 2 years for all performers, and we look forward to adding to the vibrant local Ottawa scene”.

“My new album has just surpassed 2 million streams and I am so excited to celebrate in Ottawa with my iconic fans,” said Priyanka. “Ottawa is so special to me! I’ll never forget playing Capital Pride before I was even on Drag Race. This event is going to be a full scale concert experience that benefits Capital Pride. I can’t wait!”

This newly announced show will go on sale on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 through www.capitalpride.ca. The tickets for the original show have been refunded through Eventbrite and a new ticket purchase is required for this show.

Priyanka is the winner of the first season of Canada’s Drag Race. In July, Priyanka released Taste Test and is now touring across North America and Europe.

Event Details:

WhenThursday, November 18, 2021
Where:The Bronson Centre Theatre
Time:Doors open at 7:00pm
Show from 8-10:30pm
Featuring:Priyanka
Hosted By Kiki Coe, with performances by Kimmy Couture, Ben Dover, Saltina Shaker, Shea D. Ladie and Devona Coe
With a live viewing of Canada’s Drag Race, Episode 6

Tickets:
Tickets go on sale at noon on Tuesday, November 9 at capitalpride.ca. The show is general admission. Ticketholders with tickets to the original show will need to repurchase tickets at capitalpride.ca.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
613-680-3033
[email protected]

Statement from Capital Pride 

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There is no place for hate within 2SLGBTQ+ communities. More than ever, we must work together to confront bullying and harassment and all forms of oppression, including transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, or otherwise. 

The conduct of Yaya Torres and Haus of Torres is unacceptable. Capital Pride is not currently working with either party and we confirm we will not be working together in the future. 

It has also been made evident that our 2021 Ms. Capital Pride, Babe Kelly, has engaged in unacceptable behaviour rooted in racism and transphobia. This conduct fails to meet the communities’ expectations of a Capital Pride titleholder and violates our code of conduct for pageant contestants and winning titleholders. 

Today, Capital Pride met with Babe Kelly and accepted her resignation as Ms. Capital Pride 2021. While this is a serious decision, we believe the consequences reflect the severity of the current situation and that the outcome is inline with Capital Pride’s mission to respect the full diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. 

This week’s news also demonstrates that these issues were not isolated. In the coming weeks, we are committed to working with the local drag community, event organizers and establishments, and community groups to develop an awareness campaign that seeks to confront hate within our spaces. We will also support the drag community as they seek to create positive change and address some of the underlying issues that have come to light over the last few days. 

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More information

Capital Pride
Communications Team
[email protected]
613-680-3033

Capital Pride is Hiring!

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Current job opportunities:

Community Engagement Coordinator

Full-time, 1 year contract starting November 2021

Capital Pride is seeking a Community Engagement Coordinator who will be responsible for working with community groups and supporting their engagement in our 2022 activities; leading the development of Capital Pride’s volunteer team; supporting community outreach and communications activities; and building our local business partnership program,  

Communications & Administrative Coordinator

4 month contract, November 2021 – February 28, 2022

Capital Pride is seeking a bilingual Communications & Administrative Coordinator to assist with the development and delivery of the organization’s social media strategy; the development of digital and web materials and to support administrative projects. 

Applicants are asked to submit applications to [email protected] no later than Friday, October 22, 2021.

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More information

Toby Whitfield
Executive Director
[email protected]
613-680-3033