Egale postpones Fall Gala to Spring Event
With September just weeks away, many of our supporters now look to the fall with eager anticipation for Egale’s Annual Fundraiser Gala—a glamourous night of food and drink, mingling and entertainment, that has become a popular fixture among Egale’s regular affairs. The Gala has always been an important occasion for us, as a means of connecting with our organization’s active and generous community.
Reflecting on our accomplishments over the past year, it becomes apparent just how proactive Egale and our invaluable community of supporters can be when equipped with the resources required to push for a more LGBTQ2S-accepting Canada and world.
It has been a banner year for us in our effort to bring LGBTQ-inclusion to schools and workplaces, with our Safer & Accepting Schools program experiencing prolific success. In 2015, Egale has held close to 350 inclusivity workshops for 2300 educators, support staff, and administrators across Canada, with 86% saying they gained more understanding of LGBTQ identities and issues through the workshops. Almost all reported increased confidence in engaging in meaningful conversation on the topic and infusing LGBTQ experiences into their teaching strategies and curricula.
Collaborating with community members and civil society organizations across the country, Egale continues to work tirelessly to advance critical human rights protections for trans and gender variant people. The federal Gender Identity Bill (C-279) came as far as third reading in the Senate before the Writ dropped this summer. Egale is committed to reviving this work in the next parliamentary session to ensure that trans and gender variant people across the country have access to the same rights and protections as all other people in Canada–rights that have been unjustly denied to them for far too long.
On the international front, Egale has represented Canada’s LGBTQ community on a global level at the UNHCR in Geneva, the Seventh Summit of Americas in Panama, the United Nations in Italy, and the International Day Against Homophobia in Montenegro. Working with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association (ILGA), Egale encouraged the Canadian government to pass explicit national gender identity anti-discrimination protections, and to rescind provisions that discriminate against LGBTQ refugee applicants to Canada.
In May, Egale hosted two major national events supporting the rights and mental health of Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ youth—OUTShine and OUTatNight. OUTShine, held on May 15-17th, saw hundreds of youth and educators from across the country converge on Winnipeg for a summit geared towards strengthening Gay-Straight Alliances in Canadian high schools. Our first ever OUTatNight was a celebrity-charged national fundraising campaign in service to LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness, culminating in a night-long sleep-out in backyards, parks, patios, and official venues in Calgary and Toronto.
Egale Youth OUTreach (EYO) Counselling, Youth Homelessness Support, and Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre is working harder than ever to provide safe housing for LGBTQ2S+ youth in need. Since April 2014, EYO’s drop-in rate has increased by a dramatic 300%, which means we are successfully reaching and assisting more youth than ever before.
In the athletic world, Egale has made official partnerships with the Canadian Olympic Committee and You Can Play, striving for LGBTQ inclusion in sport under the #OneTeam banner. Egale was also active as a founding member of PrideHouseTO in working to make Toronto’s recent Pan/ParaPan Am Games the most LGBTQ-inclusive multi-sport games in history.
It is in part this active schedule that has led us to reluctantly forego this year’s Annual Fundraiser Gala. With an extremely busy year behind us, and Egale’s 20th Anniversary as a registered charity only half a year away, we have decided to continue focusing on our current goals and work towards a grand celebration in the next year.
This said, we urge you to continue your support of Egale in the year ahead. The accomplishments listed here are just a few of the highlights and a testament that your contributions are instrumental in helping us build a more inclusive Canada, and that your time, talent and financial help make a huge difference. If you are a regular attendee of our annual gala, we ask that you continue to support Egale in lieu of the event, and know that we will be relentless in working toward our vision of a Canada, and ultimately a world, without homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and all other forms of oppression, so that every person can achieve their full potential, free from hatred and bias.