The winners of the inaugural Pride Legacy Awards gathered at the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Vancouver for a special luncheon reception.
The awards were presented at the Imperial on July 20 to honour those who have devoted themselves to the development and improvement of local LGBT communities.
Nominations were open to the public. Finalists were chosen by a selection committee and in turn, the community voted for the final winners.
Eight awards were created, each one reflecting a colour of the rainbow flag.
Pink—Sexuality: Sexual Health: Bradford McIntyre
Red—Life: Lifetime Achievement: Shawn Ewing
Orange—Healing: Sports: Jag Bilkhu
Yellow—Sunlight: Community Superstar: Barb Snelgrove
Green—Environment: Safe spaces: Maria Foster
Turquoise—Art: Art: Joe Average
Blue—Harmony: Community Leaders: Dean Malone
Purple—Youth: Spirt: Jen Sung
For more information on the winners and a brief description of each, here is a list.
Several prominent members of the community were also in attendance, such as Qmunity executive director Dara Parker, Trans Alliance Society chair Marie Little, MLA Vancouver-West End Spencer Chandra Herbert, and more.
Vancouver Pride parade grand marshalls Brandon Timmerman, who founded Brockville Pride in Ontario; PFLAG members Karin Lind, Aideen McKenna, and Susan Harman; Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus; and Montenegro's LGBT Forum Progress founder Zdravko Cimbaljevic.
Timmerman talked with the Georgia Straight about being "really shocked" by size of Vancouver.
"My city's only 22,000 people," Timmerman said. "You guys have more people than that in the parade. And you guys have an amazing village here and an amazing staff that's setting an example for the entire world."
Timmerman, who has held three Pride parades in his Ontario hometown, hopes to take back "ideas to make my Pride more user-friendly for people of mental disabilities, physical disabilities, just make it more accessible for absolutely everybody, and also host more events that will bring people out."
Malone, who won the award for community leaders, spoke about the importance of making the world a better place for younger generations.
"The amount of time that we get to make a difference is pretty small if you think in terms of the bigger picture," he said upon receiving his award. "So it's really important for me and hopefully for everybody in this room because you're here, because you care, is that while we're here, we do what we can do, and we make sure that those who come after us will have the same opportunities that we've had and even more opportunities."
Meanwhile, Sung, of Out in Schools, talked about the positive response she gets from educating youth about being queer.
"I constantly am super grateful for the experiences that I gain from being in schools and to have a kid come up to me in tears after a presentation and tell me that they've never seen anything like this in their schools before, certainly not with their peers, and in mainstream television and media," she said as she accepted her award. "And they're like, 'I can be a little bit more out now. I could be a little bit more queer. I could have different coloured hair. And you make that okay.' "
Bilku, president of Vancouver Frontrunners, said the ninth annual Vancouver Pride Run and Walk on July 27 raised over $10,000 for Out in Schools, and almost 400 people in attendance. He talked about how sports have changed his life.
"What drives me is it's given me so much," he told the Straight. "I wouldn't be around today, as happy and as adjusted and comfortable being myself, being able to say I'm gay and being comfortable in my own skin if it wasn't for gay sports. I see the value of gay sports and I can see it do that to others, so I want to spread that word and I want to be able to facilitate that to as many people as possible."
The official Vancouver Pride parade takes place in Vancouver's West End on Sunday (August 4).
Congratulations to all the winners and happy Pride to all!