Conference Leadership

Brenda Cossman
is the Director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. She teaches courses on family law, gender and law, and law and film. She writes extensively in the area of law and sexuality.  Her most recent book, Sexual Citizens: The Legal and Cultural Regulation of Sex and Belonging, was published by Stanford University Press in 2007. Additionally, Cossman coauthored Bad Attitudes on Trial: Pornography, Feminism and the Butler Decision (University of Toronto Press) and Censorship and the Arts (published by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries). Brenda is actively involved in law reform, particularly in the area of same sex couples and definitions of family. Recently, she authored reports for the Law Commission of Canada and the Ontario Law Reform Commission on the legal regulation of adult relationships. She is also a frequent commentator in the media on issues relating to law and sexuality. She served as a memeber of the Pink Triangle Press Board of Directors for ten years, working as a frequent contributor to Xtra!

Doug Kerr is a consultant, college professor and community organizer based in Toronto.
For over 10 years, Doug worked in the nonprofit funding community, including 8 years at United Way Toronto and 2 years at Tides Canada Foundation. At United Way, he managed portfolios related to immigrant services, housing and homelessness, neighborhood and community development, and children and youth services. As a manager of organizational capacity building, he also played a lead role in running organizational development and innovative partnership development programs. At Tides Canada, he was responsible for expanding support for social innovation, civic engagement, social justice and environmental initiatives.

Current work includes research and consulting support to a variety of clients, including The Ontario Trillum Foundation, The Kiwanis Foundation, Toronto Community Housing, United Way Toronto, the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre, and many community-based social agencies. He is a member of the Progressive Consultants Network of Toronto.

Doug is an active volunteer on a number of Boards and committees and has contributed his time and expertise to organizations such as Sherbourne Health Centre, the Toronto Enterprise Fund, Community One Foundation, the LGBT Giving Network. He is passionate about innovation, diversity and the future of civil society in Canada. Doug also spent six years living in Taiwan and speaks Mandarin Chinese.


Advisory Committee
Joan Anderson
has been active on AIDS and social justice causes for many years and is a respected community leader and facilitator. Joan has been an ally of the LGBT community in Toronto since the late-seventies and involved in the community response to HIV/AIDS since 1984. She has served on local Boards including the AIDS Committee of Toronto and The 519 Church Street Community Centre. International involvement includes supporting the development of the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations and as Senior Advisor at the Toronto Local Host for the 2006 International AIDS Conference. Joan became a community consultant and is most recently focused on work with the Toronto HIV/AIDS Network (THN) and volunteering with Rainbow Railroad to support LGBT refugees.

Rona Abramovitch is a Senior Advisor at Ryerson University working on access and outreach, on equity initiatives, on policy, and on community engagement.  Before Ryerson she was at the University of Toronto where she served as the Status of Women Officer, the Director of the Transitional Year Program, and, with David Rayside, started the Positive Space Campaign.

Richard Chambers is the director of the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice. Research interests include moral and spiritual development with young adults, and the role of religion in civil society. 

Wendy Cukier is Vice President, Research and Innovation at Ryerson University. She is recognized as one of Canada’s leading authorities on emerging technologies and has over 20 years of experience as a consultant to industry and government. She led the design and development of the MBA programs and the Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture. Professor Cukier has presented and published over 200 papers and articles and is the holder of several large research grants. She is the coauthor of Innovation Nation: From Java to Jurassic Park (2002). She is also the founder of the Diversity Institute and has worked on a range of projects aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in organizations. She sits on the Expert Panel of the Information Communications Technology Council and is a judge with the Canadian Information Productivity Awards. She holds a PhD in Management Science from York University(2002) and has honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia University.  She was also named one of the “100 Alumni who shaped the Century” by the University of Toronto.  In 1999, she received the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross, one of Canada’s highest Civilian Honours.

Matt Cutler is an integral member of the senior management team at The 519, a public-private partnership of the City of Toronto.

In his role at The Centre, Matt oversees development and community engagement activities including community-led initiatives, resource development events, donor stewardship, volunteer engagement, corporate, foundation and government partnerships, and the branding, training and customer experience elements of The 519’s social enterprise, FABARNAK. Most recently, Matt has led The 519’s sport-related initiatives as The Centre prepares to play a leadership role in the 2015 Pan/ParaPan Am Games as the trustee of the PrideHouseTO initiative.

Pascal Dessureault is an accomplished and engaged member of the community. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science at the University of Toronto while co-founding and managing a successful consultancy business in online communications. He also has relevant experience in board governance, having served as president of his student union, and as a Board member of a major federal political party. Pascal currently works in Corporate and Public Affairs for TD Bank Group. He has served on The 519 Board of Management since September 2009, as a member of the Executive Committee in the role of Treasurer and more recently as the Vice Chair of the Board. 

Jordi Díez is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph. Professor Díez has taught at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and the University of Toronto and has been a Visiting Professor at the El Colegio de México, the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile, and the University of California, San Diego. A recipient of numerous research awards, from organizations including the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Council (IDRC), he has published extensively on gay and lesbian rights in Latin America.

Richard Elliott, B.A.(Hons), LL.B., LL.M. is a lawyer and the executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, one of the world’s leading research and advocacy organizations on HIV-related human rights issues.

Jane Farrow works in public consultation and civic engagement drawing on a strong background in writing, journalism, facilitating complex urban dialogues and instigating creative city-building initiatives. Her career highlights include stints as CBC Radio One host and producer, best-selling author, executive assistant at City Hall and dynamic emcee and moderator. She was founding director of Jane’s Walk, an NGO based in Toronto engaged in walkability initiatives that celebrate the ideas of urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Brent Hawkes is a native of Bath, New Brunswick and a graduate of Mount Allison University. He later received a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Trinity College. He has been the Senior Pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for 35 years. As the Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Rev. Dr. Hawkes has been at the forefront of ministry to the Gay and Lesbian Community in Toronto. He serves as spiritual leader to a faith community of more than 800 congregants at regular Sunday worship. As well, he has served the community at large with distinction, championing several Human Rights initiatives, especially benefiting the Gay and Lesbian Community.

Sean Hillier is the Co-Chair of Pride Toronto. Sean has been involved with Pride Toronto for numerous years, most recently as Coordinator for the Public Safety Committee in 2011. Sean is member of the Qalipu Mi’Kmiq First Nations Band and identifies as gay & 2-spirited. He is completing his PhD in Policy Studies at Ryerson University, his research focuses on both First Nations and Trans People and the impact policy has on ealthcare issues affecting them. Sean is also a Director of the Board for Our Place Community of Hope, a mental health drop-in centre located in midtown Toronto.

Jaigris Hodson is a Ph.D. candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program at York and Ryerson Universities. Her M.A. research focused on applying Habermas’ theory of public reason to web 2.0 via three case studies of the participatory Internet applications Facebook, Cute Overload, and Her doctoral research focuses on a mixed-methods critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the Google and Facebook corporate blogs. She has presented at multiple conferences and has published articles in a number of journals, including the Canadian Journal of Communication.

Helen Kennedy is the Executive Director of Egale Canada, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) human rights organization advancing equality, diversity, education and justice.

Kyle Kirkup is a lawyer, academic, and writer. He is a 2013 Trudeau Scholar and a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. His research explores the role of police, courts, and prison officials in maintaining, contesting, and transforming contemporary norms of gender identity and sexuality. Before joining the University of Toronto, Kyle completed graduate studies at Yale Law School and served as a law clerk to the Honourable Madam Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis worked alongside her father, Stephen Lewis, to found the Stephen Lewis Foundation and has been its Executive Director since its inception in 2003. From its humble beginnings at Ilana’s kitchen table, the Foundation has since worked with more than 300 grassroots organizations in 15 countries. Ilana is a labour and human rights lawyer and a passionate advocate for the rights of women. She spent eight years at the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in New York, where she worked as the Agency’s CEDAW Advisor, to strengthen the UN’s implementation of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Nancy Nicol is a professor in the Visual Arts Department at York University, where she has taught since 1989. Between 1979 and 2009 she has created over thirty films and has exhibited widely in national and international festivals, conferences and community based organizations. Begun In 1999,”From Criminality to Equality” includes the films: Stand Together, the Queer Nineties, Politics of the Heart and The End of Second Class. Her work on lesbian and gay history also includes a number of shorts: Pride and Resistance, and Proud Lives. This body of work has received a number of honours including: the Elle Flanders Award for Best Documentary, Inside Out, Toronto, 2007 and 2006; Honourable Mention for Best Canadian Female Director in the shorts category, Inside Out, 2007; the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary, Image + Nation, Montréal, 2006; the Audience Choice Award, Making Scenes, Ottawa, 2002 and the John Bailey Completion Award, Inside Out, 2002.

Stephen Seaborn is a board member of ILGA the international association of LGBTI organizations and an elected Vice President representing LGBTQ workers at the Ontario Federation of Labour. He is an events producer at the Mayworks Festival, Canada’s largest labour arts festival and coordinates Toronto’s Campaign for Public Education.

David Rayside is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and directed the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies (2004 until 2008).  He has a long activist record within and beyond the academic arena, and has published extensively on LGBT politics, primarily in Canada and the U.S., as well as on faith, sexuality, and politics.

Scott Rayter is the Associate Director for the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. He currently teaches in both SDS and the Dept of English. Most recently he co-edited Queerly Canadian: An Introductory Reader in Sexuality Studies.

Hershel Russell, MA, MEd, is an older, white, trans* man, an experienced psychotherapist, trainer and activist, working mostly on trans* access to healthcare.

Kirsten Thompson is currently senior Counsel at McCarthy Tétrault, one of Canada’s leading national law firms. She is an accomplished advocate and has appeared at all levels of court and as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada. She is also a regular contributor to various legal and popular publications. Kirsten has held leadership roles in LGBT organizations for over two decades at both the provincial and national level. She has a particular interest in gender diversity/nonconformity and identity politics and how those factors impact individual career advancement and organizational excellence.

Anna Travers is the Director of Rainbow Health Ontario and oversees the administration and management of all of RHO’s activities. She has a Masters degree in Social Work and over 25 years experience as a front-line worker and manager in community based health and social services in Ontario. She has worked with women, youth, young parents and newcomers to Canada. Anna has done extensive professional and volunteer work in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities – facilitating groups and workshops, writing articles, consulting on program development and serving as a Board member for several organizations. Over the past seven years, Anna developed and managed Sherbourne Health Centre’s comprehensive primary health care program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people before moving on to become the Director of RHO.

Syrus Marcus Ware is the Program Coordinator for Youth Programs at the Art Gallery of Ontario. For the past 8 years, Syrus has worked with Blackness Yes! to produce Blockorama (the black queer and trans stage at Toronto’s Pride Festival), and other related events throughout the year. Syrus is also a founding member of the Prison Justice Action Committee of Toronto. Syrus is a program committee member for Mayworks Festival, and is a past board member of the FUSE magazine. Syrus is also a member of the GBQTransmen’s HIV Prevention Working Group, the Trans Fathers 2B Working group, and the Prisoners’ Justice Action Committee. For the past 13 years, Syrus has hosted the weekly radio segment, “Resistance on the Sound Dial” heard each Saturday on CIUT 89.5FM.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has an extensive career investing in the City of Toronto through both the public and private sectors. She is the first openly Queer woman to be elected to Toronto City Council. Prior to her election, she was an accomplished entrepreneur, investment advisor, and real estate professional.

Ralph Carl Wushke, Th. M. A, is a United Church of Canada minister and Ecumenical Chaplain at U of T. He holds the Master of Theology (2004 TST–Emmanuel) in queer theory, philosophical hermeneutics, and sexuality ethics. An activist for LGBTQ in church, society, and HIV/AIDS, he founded Qu(e)erying Religion at U of T in 2005.

International Advisory Committee
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
(Sri Lanka) is the Co-Secretary General of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). She has made a significant impactin lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer advocacy in Sri Lanka, the Asian region, and internationally. She was a founding member of Women’s Support Group (1999), the only LBT organization in Sri Lanka and Equal Ground (2004), a mixed LGBTIQ organization in Sri Lanka.

Gareth Henry (Canada/Jamaica) is the former leader of J-Flag, a Jamaican gay and lesbian group.

Jovan Kojičić (Montenegro) is an Assistant Professor in European Law. Prof. Kojičić has an extensive background in in the human rights field, policy and legislative framework, as well as in environmental law and international environmental law. Teaching is an environment that he has found both intellectually stimulating and part of his own growth as a professional. Prof. Kojičić received his Doctor of Laws (Dr. iur.) degree at the Viadrina European University in Germany. During his doctoral studies he was awarded the prestigious German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Fellowship. Prof. Kojičić joined the Faculty of Administrative and European Studies in Podgorica in April 2008. Also, he has finished his post-doc in the field of human rights in international law and the relation of law to social change (in the non-discrimination field) at the Lund University Department of Sociology of Law in Lund, Sweden. Prof. Kojičić is also a visiting researcher at the department of European, Public International and Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Leipzig, Germany, as well as a visiting scholar at the UCLA School of Law – the Williams Institute in Los Angeles, California, the United States. He has been a full member of the Southeast Europe Society (Munich, Germany) since 2003, as well as a listed expert in Environmental Law for Serbia and Montenegro with the Eco Institute for Applied Ecology in Darmstadt, Germany. Prof. Kojičić was also a member of the European Economic and Social Committee Study Group (2001-2003) for the ECOSOC Project of South-Eastern European Countries. Over the years, Prof. Kojičić has received many awards such as: Academic Fellowship, DAAD, for the 19th European Summer Academy in Germany (2008); Academic Research Fellowship, DAAD (2008); Graduate College Europa Fellows II, Federal German Ministry of Education and Research and European Union Fellows Programme, European University Viadrina, Germany (2005); European Viadrina University PhD Fellow (2004); The European System of Human Rights Summer Course Fellow, European Viadrina University, Council of Europe and DAAD (2003), DAAD PhD Fellowship (2002-2004) among others. He is the President of the DAAD Alumni Club Montenegro and the principal organiser of the international conference “Justice in the Balkans: Equality for Sexual Minorities”. Prof. Kojičić is the author of numerous scientific articles, books, book chapters and theses in his areas of expertise. In August 2011 he has been appointed as Adviser to the Prime Minister of Montenegro on Human Rights and Protection against Discrimination, to which he has been reappointed on January 31, 2013.

Goran Miletic (Serbia) is the Programme Director for Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

Victor Mukasa (Uganda) is a Human Rights Defender working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender liberation in his home country of Uganda and across Africa. He is the chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

Harlan Pruden (United States), a First Nations Cree, has been living in New York since 1994 and is co-founder of the NorthEast Two Spirit Society, where he works with the New York’s Two-Spirit (LGBT Native) community. He is also one of the principle organizers of the National Confederacy of Two-Spirit Organizations and was recently appointed to be an American representative on the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (IIWGHA). In April on 2013, Harlan was re-appointed to Manhattan’s Community Board 12 and is currently the only Native on a NYC community board. After committing himself to sobriety 27 years ago, Harlan was the first person in his family to attend college and now devotes his life to First Nations community organizing and other progressive causes.

Bill Schiller (Sweden) works at Radio Sweden, concentrating on cultural programs, human rights and developments in Sweden’s Nordic neighbours. He was born in Chicago and grew up in the German-Austrian area of the near Northside. He came to Sweden during the Vietnam War and is now a Swedish citizen. He is very much engaged in the lesbian and gay rights movement and rainbow cultural events, both in the Nordic region and especially with the new groups in the Baltic region and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Maurice Tomlinson (Canada/Jamaica) has been involved in HIV/AIDS and LGBTI activism in Jamaica for over 12 years.   He is an Attorney-at-Law and law lecturer with current research interests in sexual rights and HIV/AIDS advocacy. He regularly writes on gay rights in Jamaican newspapers is leading an initiative of the major Jamaican NGOs (J-FLAG, JASL and CVC) working in the area of HIV/AIDS and LGBTI rights to have the country’s anti-buggery law repealed.  He is also seeking to have the legal prohibition against sex-work modified to allow for consensual adult sex work.  Maurice regularly attends local and international conferences where he presents on the state of Jamaica’s law and homophobia. He also conducts human rights and advocacy training sessions for Jamaican LGBTI and conceptualized Jamaica’s first ‘Walk for Tolerance’ for April 7, 2010.

Angie Umbac (Philippines) is a legal rights activist and recipient of two gender awards from the Philippine Civil Service Commission for championing the issues of gender and development in her personal and professional life. Umbac serves as a Director for Human Rights of Libertas, a Philippine-based network of reform-minded lawyers and legal professionals who are committed to the promotion of Human Rights and Peace, Rule of Law and Access to Justice, Transparency and Accountability in Government, and Democratic Reform. She is a resource person for Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), under the umbrella of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, focusing on issues of violence and discrimination against lesbians, bisexual and transgender women, as well as national and local policy trends that impact on LGBT rights. She is also a trustee of Ladlad LGBT Party List, the LGBT political party that currently seeking for a seat in the Philippine Congress, and she is an advisory board member of All Out, a campaigning organization dedicated to building a movement to accelerate full equality for LGBT people.


Organizing Committee
Glen Brown
heads a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, organizational development, communications, and policy development for the not-for-profit sector. Prior to that he served as the senior manager at Canada’s largest AIDS organization, the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE). He has been as a leader and board member in many organizations including AIDS Action Now, the Canadian AIDS Society, the 519 Church Street Community Centre, the Wellesley Institute, and currently in Greenpeace Canada. In recent years he has served as Interim Executive Director for the AIDS Committee of Toronto, Pride Toronto and Street Health.

Allison Burgess is the Sexual & Gender Diversity Officer at the University of Toronto.  She holds a PhD from the Department of Sociology & Equity Studies in Education and the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women & Gender Studies.

Michael Charles is a lawyer, consultant, and Principal of Change DeZign, a Firm providing workplace engagement, and diversity & inclusion services.  He has successfully worked with large organizations to leverage diversity strengths and create measurable value. Michael is a leader in community and international development, currently serving with Human Rights Watch (Canada), and previously serving as Executive Board Member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (Canada).  He has also been a guest speaker on issues relating to law, diversity, and curriculum.  Michael holds a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Toronto, and a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Carmen Cheung is the Acting Director of the International Human Rights Program, including its award-winning clinic, at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Carmen joins the Faculty from the BC Civil Liberties Association, where she served as Senior Counsel. She is a frequent presenter on issues relating to human rights, and previously taught a course on equality and social justice at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law.

Chrystal Dean has over seven years experience in event production, marketing and coordination within the arts and cultural sector. During her time as Vice President of TasPride in Australia, she saw the organization through a transition from small community organization to presenter of major events on the national LGBTIQ calendar. She spent five years working for the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts in Australia running signature recognition events and conferences for the sport and recreation, and screen (film, television and digital media) industries. Chrystal has a BA in Communication Studies, with majors in Public Relations and Media Production.

Jordi Díez is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph. Professor Díez has taught at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and the University of Toronto and has been a Visiting Professor at the El Colegio de México, the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago de Chile, and the University of California, San Diego. A recipient of numerous research awards, from organizations including the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Council (IDRC), he has published extensively on gay and lesbian rights in Latin America.

Douglas Elliott has received numerous awards for his legal work and community service, including the Lawyer of the Year Award, presented by Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped, the Community Service Award of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, the Founders Award of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the SOGIC Hero Award of the Canadian Bar Association,the Distinguished Service Award of the Association of Lesbian and Gay Psychiatrists, the Salah Bachir Award for Community Service, the Leadership Award of the Canadian AIDS Society and The Lifetime Achievement Award from Pride Toronto.

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, Bob has been centrally involved in the battle for equality for LGBTQ relationships and marriage. Out of a fundamental belief in the power of queer youth and queer art, Bob helped found the Gay Lesbian 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 NDP. Bob’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 Bob is Director of Communications and Political Action for the United Steelworkers union.

Raymond Helkio graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design University and works with the LGBTQ not-for-profit sector. He is an award winning film maker, author of The Great Meeting Room, curator for The Reading Salon and a Canadian Ambassador for the Moral Courage Project.

Alex Irwin is Director of Immigrant Education and the Redirection Through Education Program at George Brown College in Toronto.  He oversees programming at the college focused on Canadian newcomers, as well as programming for students with mental health and/or addictions challenges.  Before George Brown College, he worked for 11 years at the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation in New York City as Deputy Director of the Network Scholarship Programs, where he managed grant programs for individuals from Central and Southeast Asia.  He has degrees from McGill University (BA), the University of Toronto (MA), and Columbia University (MSW), and has an extensive background in LGBTQ activism and community involvement in both Toronto and New York.

Kyle Kirkup is a lawyer, academic, and writer. He is a 2013 Trudeau Scholar and a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. His research explores the role of police, courts, and prison officials in maintaining, contesting, and transforming contemporary norms of gender identity and sexuality. Before joining the University of Toronto, Kyle completed graduate studies at Yale Law School and served as a law clerk to the Honourable Madam Justice Louise Charron at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ken Meiklejohn is a Director of OutSport Toronto and Special Projects Officer for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation at the University of Toronto.  After pursuing his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto, Ken worked in the private sector in a variety of roles specializing in strategy development and implementation.  In 2008, he was hired by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto to assist in the implementation of its strategic plan and has been at U of T ever since. As the former Vice-Chair of OutSport Toronto, Ken was responsible for portfolios relating to partnership development and LGBTQ sport advocacy, and he continues to assist the organization in those areas.

Lali Mohamed is an award-winning diversity and equity consultant who works in higher education. For the past decade, his activism has been complicating questions of race, sexuality, migration, class and dis/ability.

Momin Rahman is an Associate Professor at Trent University and also a Fellow of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.  His academic work has focused on questions of queer citizenship, most recently the issues that Muslim queer identities raise for both western queer and mainstream Muslim politics.

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh worked at Toronto City Hall for three decades prior to her retirement in 2010. She was responsible for pioneering many ground-breaking equity and human rights policies making Toronto a social justice leader. These policies included the anti-discrimination and human rights requirements for civic agencies, grant recipients and suppliers of goods and services.  In addition, she was involved with City of Toronto efforts to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include sexual orientation and the expansion of health care and pension coverage for same-sex spouses of employees. During the 1970’s, Ceta was a co-founder and lecturer in Women’s Studies, University of Toronto and worked with school trustees at the Toronto school board to develop anti-racism and multicultural policies and programs. Currently, Ceta is the National Chair, The Word On The Street Canada and President, LEARNXS Foundation She is a board member of the Toronto Community Foundation and Friends of Fort York, a Community Heritage jury member for Heritage Toronto and is the Honorary President, Grange Community Association.  She also serves as a Principal’s Appointee, Innis College Council and is an Executive Committee member of the College of Electors, University of Toronto. Ceta has served on many community and government boards and committees, published many articles on social justice issues and has received several awards including the New Pioneers Award from Skills for Change, the Arbor Award from the University of Toronto and the Constance Hamilton Award from the City of Toronto. Her academic qualifications from the University of Toronto include a BA, MA, a graduate Diploma in Child Studies and residency requirement towards a PhD at OISE.

Scott Rayter is the Associate Director for the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto.  He currently teaches in both SDS and the Department of English. Most recently he co-edited Queerly Canadian: An Introductory Reader in Sexuality Studies.

Michel Savoie emerged from the wilds of Northern Ontario having studied Computer Engineering and quickly found his way into the emerging field of Social Media. Michel has been with RBC Royal Bank for 7 years, and true to the nature of his Gen Y peers, has held 5 different positions. Currently, Michel is Manager of Client Strategy for the 18 to 35 demographic where he regularly consults on digital communications strategy to business partners. In his spare time, Michel enjoys rock climbing, skiing, community service and activism. He also moonlights as a movie set photographer. Michel has spoken on the topics of corporate social media, innovation, and enterprise governance at conferences such as “Social Media for Government” and “Blogworld”. He is also actively engaged in LGBTQ advocacy, acting as a communications advisor to Pride Toronto’s Community Advisory Panel, and sitting on RBC’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group for LGBTQA employees.

Armen Shahnazarian is a Teaching and Learning Coach at the Secondary level with Model Schools for Inner Cities. Armen co-facilitates Gay Straight Alliance clubs at three Secondary schools, and is the current Chair of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s, District 12 GSA Committee.

Barry Waite brings more than 20 years of progressive public relations and marketing communications experience to his role as the Program Coordinator of the Corporate Communications and Public Relations Program at Centennial College. He is well-versed in external and internal communications; social media; brand-building public relations; product marketing; event management; and issues and crisis management in multiple sectors, including retail, health care, financial services and technology. After graduating York University with an Honours B.A. in English and Political Science, Barry worked for the Government of Ontario at Expo 86. Following Expo, he joined one of Canada’s leading independent public relations firms, where he held a number of positions culminating in senior vice president. He led high profile, successful communications programs for clients including Interac Association, Marks & Spencer, Whole Foods Market and Canada’s generic drug industry. Most recently he was as a senior strategist with an Internet marketing firm where he specialized in developing impactful online and social media programs for clients. Barry was actively involved with the Corporate Communications & Public Relations Program prior to joining the College, through mentoring students, field placements and serving as Chair of the Program Advisory Committee for four years. He also has extensive volunteer experience including serving four years as president of a not-for-profit organization that organizes an annual charity run and four years on the Development Committee at Fife House. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Community One Foundation. 

Wade Wright is in the final stages of his doctorate in law (J.S.D.) degree at Columbia Law School, where, as an Associate in Law, he also taught from 2007 to 2010. Before Columbia, he was an associate lawyer at a major Toronto law firm, and was also a law clerk for Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin at the Supreme Court of Canada. He holds law degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) and the University of Cambridge (LL.M.). He researches and publishes primarily in the area of Canadian and comparative constitutional law, including queer rights.