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.

Marcela Romero: bio TBA

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.