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Canada as the Featured Nation at Equality Forum 2014 Press Kit

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Canada Recognized for Leadership in LGBT Equality Rights at Philadelphia’s Equality Forum Canada has been selected as the Featured Nation at America’s largest LGBT equality rights event. The NHL & Burke Family and TD Bank will receive awards. TORONTO, ON – Canada will be recognized for its leadership in advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at Equality Forum 2014 in Philadelphia, PA, May 1-4. Canada has been selected as the Featured Nation of this year’s Forum, America’s largest LGBT equality rights event. The NHL and the Burke Family will receive the ‘International Role Model Award’ and TD Bank will receive the ‘International Business Leadership Award’ for their support of the community. Darrell Schuurman, executive director of Travel Gay Canada, says, “Canada was selected because of our history fighting for equality rights, beginning in the 1960s to becoming the fourth country to nationally legalize same-sex marriage.” (Timeline infographic attached). “From June 20-29, Toronto, Ontario will host the world’s largest Pride event, WorldPride 2014, and this shows the more than 2 million visitors from around the world that Canada as a progressive and inviting country to both do business with and to experience as a travel destination.” Four Canadians who were instrumental in our country’s LGBT equality rights struggle will present a panel showcasing our efforts while offering Americans a look at how we successfully legalized same-sex marriage equality almost a decade ago. Panelists include: • Cynthia Petersen, LGBT Rights Lawyer • Bob Gallagher, LGBT Rights Activist • El-Farouk Khaki, LGBT Refugee & Immigration Lawyer, Human Rights Activist • Helen Kennedy, LGBT Rights Activist, Executive Director of Egale Canada • With Moderator, David Walberg, CEO of Digital Media for Pink Triangle Press Our partners include Ontario Tourism, Tourism Toronto and WorldPride 2014 Toronto, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Air Canada. About Travel Gay Canada TGC is Canada’s only LGBT tourism industry organization and is a member-based association of tourismrelated businesses LGBT market through marketing, training, product development and research initiatives. TGC is leading the delegation of Canadians and manages our partner’s presence at Equality Forum. http://www.

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LGBT EQUALITY Timeline CYMK print version: RBG jpg version:

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LGBT EQUALITY Timeline A Timeline of Canada’s LGBT Equality and Same-Sex Marriage Rights 1969: Homosexuality decriminalized. 1992: Gay members allowed to serve openly in the military. 1995: Adoption rights granted in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia. 2004: National adoption rights granted. 1996: Nationally protected from housing and employment discrimination. 2000: Same-sex couples who have lived together for more than one year granted all the same benefits and obligations as heterosexual couples. 2005: National same-sex marriage rights granted. Fourth country in the world to do so. 2001: First legal same-sex marriage; 2003: Same-sex marriage in Ontario and British Columbia granted. 2010: First-ever Pride House safe space for LGBT athletes at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia.

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WORLDPRIDE 2014 Toronto

June 20-29, 2014


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The world comes to Toronto June 20-29 for the largest Pride event ever, WorldPride 2014. • Ontario, Canada is viewed globally as an open and welcoming tourism destination for LGBT consumers and home to the largest LGBT event to be held in Canada, WorldPride 2014. • Toronto, Ontario is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. • Toronto, Ontario is an international human rights leader in a country where more LGBT rights are extended than any other nation in which homosexuality is legal. • Toronto, Ontario is home to Canada’s largest LGBT community.

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PANELIST Biographies Featured Nation: Canada Panel Saturday, May 3, 2:30-3:45 pm The University of the Arts, Terra Hall Board Room, 211 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA Cynthia Petersen Cynthia Petersen is a lawyer at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP in Toronto, Ontario. She practices in the areas of constitutional litigation, administrative law and labour law (on the union side), specializing in equality rights issues. Petersen has represented LGBT clients in numerous cases over the past 20 years, including cases involving same-sex spousal benefits (eg. death benefits, health benefits, tax benefits, pension benefits), spousal support upon the breakdown of a relationship, employment discrimination based on gender identity and based on sexual orientation, customs officers’ practice of targeting gay publications, school board censorship of children’s books that depict same-sex parents, the right of transsexual women to volunteer in women-only organizations, the right of transsexuals to access public funding for sex reassignment surgery, and hate propaganda against LGBT communities. She has represented Egale Canada, a national LGBT advocacy organization in Canada, in almost every LGBT rights case that has been argued before the Supreme Court of Canada. She acted for Egale and for four same-sex couples in litigation in British Columbia and in Ontario, which culminated in the freedom to marry for same-sex partners in Canada in 2003. Petersen has been recognized for her work advancing the equality rights of LGBT Canadians. In 2000, she was awarded the Canadian Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference Hero Award; in 2010, she was awarded the Metropolitan Community Church’s Hope & Freedom Award; and, in 2011, she was awarded a Law Society Medal and was inducted into the Canadian Queer Hall of Fame. In October 2013, Petersen’s high school, Howard S. Billings, inducted her into its Wall of Distinction in recognition of her accomplishments. Bob Gallagher Bob Gallagher has a long history as a queer activist, political strategist and academic. As co-founder of both the Campaign for Equal Families and Canadians for Equal Marriage, Gallagher has been centrally involved in the battle for equality for LGBT relationships and marriage. Out of a fundamental belief in the power of queer youth and queer art, Bob helped found the Lesbian Gay Bi Youth Line and for years was a director of Buddies In Bad Times theatre. For 16 years Bob played a number of roles in partisan politics and policy formation at the municipal and federal levels. In addition to managing many election campaigns, Bob was Executive Assistant to Olivia Chow and served federally as Chief of Staff for Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party. Gallagher’s graduate studies were in political economy, studying with C.B. Macpherson, Steven Lukes and Michel Foucault. He taught social theory and public policy at Trent University. Currently Gallagher is Director of Communications and Political Action for the United Steelworkers union. El-Farouk Khaki El-Farouk Khaki is a refugee and immigration lawyer who represents women fleeing gender violence, LGBT people fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and people fleeing persecution because of their HIV status.

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PANELIST Biographies A human rights and social justice advocate, Khaki’s leadership has been recognized through the awards he has received including: 2006 Excellence in Spirituality Award – Pride Toronto; 2007 Hero Award, Canadian Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference; and in 2007, the Steinert & Ferreiro Award from the Lesbian & Gay Community Appeal. He was elected the Grand Marshall for the 2009 Toronto Pride Parade and received the “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” Pride Toronto Theme Award. Khaki is the founder of Salaam: Queer Muslim Community, an organization he originally started in 1991. In May 2009, he co-founded the el-Tawhid Juma Circle (operating currently with 5 ‘Unity Mosque’ in Canada and the USA) with Troy Jackson and Dr. Laury Silvers. He is co-founder of the Canadian Muslim Union, past Chair of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS and sits on the Advisory Board of Muslims for Progressive Values (USA and Canada). El-Farouk has sat on many boards including the Toronto Mayor’s Committee on Community & Race Relations; The Toronto Mayor’s Committee on Lesbian & Gay Issues; and was the Chair of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS. Khaki is a public speaker on Islam, the Immigration and Refugee system, human rights, racism, politics and HIV/AIDS. He is also one of the owners of the Glad Day Bookshop, the World’s oldest surviving LGBT bookshop. Helen Kennedy Helen Kennedy became the Executive Director of Egale, Canada’s advocacy organization to advance equality for Canadian LGBT people and their families, in 2007. She is the first woman to hold the position. She joined the organization with 22 years of experience in politics both as an elected city councillor and a political staffer. She is a founding member of Canadians for Equal Marriage, widely regarded as the most influential public policy lobbying campaign in Canadian history – which ultimately resulted in Canada being one of the first countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Kennedy’s work includes the Climate Survey on Homophobia and Transphobia in Canadian Schools, the first national survey of its kind in Canada and provides critical findings on bullying to schools, educators and governments. She has delivered training to Immigration Refugee Adjudicators and police services across Canada and at the invitation of the US Department of Defence, consulted with senior Pentagon officials in Washington on the US military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. She is on the Board of Directors of the International Gay, Lesbian, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and co-chair of ILGA North America. David Walberg (Panel Moderator) David Walberg is CEO of digital media at Pink Triangle Press, Canada’s largest LGBT media group. The Press published The Body Politic, The Guide and Fab. Its flagship publications include and the Xtra chain of newsmagazines. The group co-produced two TV programs in the U.S.: “Bump” on Logo and “The Gayest Show Ever” on HereTV.

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LGBT TRAVEL Fact Sheet Market Value • Canada’s LGBT travel market is worth $7 billion annually. • LGBT travellers spent on average, more than $3,400 on travel in 2010. • 40% of travellers intended to spend more in 2011. • Gay and lesbian travellers spend nearly twice as much per trip in Canada compared to other travellers ($1,131 vs. $597.00). LGBT Traveller Habits • Canada is the top international destination for American LGBT travellers (with Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto as the top three cities). • Travellers took 4.6 trips per year on average. • Travellers took an average of 4.2 flights in 2010. • Travellers stayed on average, eight or more nights in paid accommodation. Canada’s LGBT Travel Market The gay and lesbian travel market has remained relatively untapped by many of Canada’s destinations and tourism-related businesses, and therefore represents a lucrative opportunity. As more and more destinations outside of Canada begin to actively target this market, Canadian businesses and destinations need to act now to ensure it captures and maintains market share. Although the actual size of the population that identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified (LGBT) is unknown, it is estimated that in North America it’s close to 30 million people (6-8% of total population). The total value of spending by the LGBT North American consumer market is estimated at $750 billion, with tourism spending estimated to be more than $70 billion.

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MEDIA CONTACTS Travel Gay Canada Darrell Schuurman Executive Director 1-902-579-8322 1.866.300.7556 x22 Ontario Tourism Kattrin Duncan US Media 1-416-325-8447 Rey Stephen International Media 1-416-314-7330 Tourism Toronto Vanessa Somarriba Manager, Media Relations (US/Canada) 416-987-1739 WorldPride 2014 Toronto Trevor Hampden Communications Manager 416-927-7886 ext. 206

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Canada as Featured Nation at Equality Forum 2014 - Press Kit  

Canada has been selected as the Featured Nation of this year’s Forum, America’s largest LGBT equality rights event. for its leadership in ad...

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