Grants & Awards


Rainbow Grants provide funding to foster new and innovative services and programs that have a positive impact on the 2SLGBTTIQQ community in the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”) + Halton, Peel & Durham regions, in the areas of:

  • health and social sciences
  • arts and culture
  • research, education and advocacy

Foundation Rainbow Grants are available for up to $7,500 and are open to registered charities or groups trusteed by a registered charity.

General Rainbow Grants are available for up to $1,500 and are open to groups or individuals without charitable status.

Community One strongly encourages applications for programming, projects, and initiatives that prioritize and centre the work of Two-Spirit, Indigenous, Trans, Non-binary, Practitioners, Facilitators, Artists & Communities. 

The James Stewart Rainbow Grant was created thanks to the generous bequest from James Stewart, the Toronto mathematician and musician who passed away in December 2014. As one of the Toronto-based 2SLGBTTIQQ charities to receive philanthropic support from Mr. Stewart’s estate, Community One is honoured to offer this annual grant in his name.

This grant is available to a registered charity for up to $10,000. The James Stewart Rainbow Grant focuses on one or more of the following key areas:

  • seed new and innovative projects to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual/gender identity and create an atmosphere of respect and acceptance
  • support needed but underfunded services to LGBT individuals and families
  • provide programming specifically aimed at supporting newcomers to Canada who have identified themselves with the 2SLGBTTIQQ community

The 2022 Rainbow Grants Application window is NOW CLOSED as of Saturday, April 9th @ 5:00pm EST.  

Thank You For Your Interest & Application Submissions!

How To Apply (2022 info below – we will publish the 2023 information in ~February 2023)

STEP 1:  Review the 2022 Rainbow Grants Application Guide for eligibility, grant details and instructions for submitting your application(s).

STEP 2: Register at the 2022 Rainbow Grants Application Portal.  This portal will be where you provide all application details – progress can be saved in ‘draft’ as you work through your application until you are ready to submit.  You will be required to use one distinct email for each application submitted (if requesting multiple grants for different initiatives).   Additional documents like reference letters, budget details and project samples can be uploaded as part of this process in the portal.

STEP 3: Contact Community One Foundation Rainbow Grants Committee with any questions at (please allow up to 48hrs for responses).

STEP 4: Submit your completed application by Saturday, April 9th, 2022 by 5pm EST (Date Extended from April 4th to accommodate this years overwhelming demand!)  in the Zengine Applications portal.   Note:  it is crucial you ‘submit’ for this final step vs. leaving your application in ‘draft’ status.  Any incomplete/late applications will not be considered for 2021 funding.

What Happens Next?

  • All submitted/eligible applications will be reviewed by this years Rainbow Grants Allocations Committee in late April (comprised of community members, past recipients and representatives from partner organizations – in addition to representation and oversight by the Community One Foundation Board of Directors Rainbow Grants Chair – Karen Arthurton)
  • All applicants will receive notification regarding their grant by mid-May 2022
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete a Letter of Agreement to receive funding (this Letter of Agreement will be provided within the notification email in mid-May)

Best of luck!

Past Recipients

Recent Rainbow Grant Recipients

The Gender Identity, Attraction & Orientation Puppetry Project

Focusing on the creation of three educational puppetry performances to be researched, developed and tested by a group of queer arts professionals and writing experts, eventually to be performed for school children (JK-Grade 1, Grades 2-3, and Grades 4-6) in the GTA.

Sistema: Fay and Flay

Enabling at-risk children ages 6-14 in neighbourhoods across Toronto and who are students in Sistema’s after-school program, to participate in workshops with drag stars Fay & Fluffy.

Rainbow GPS Project for Asian LGBTQ Newcomers

Orientation project for East/Southeast Asian LGBTQ newcomers transitioning to live in Toronto. Through monthly drop-in sessions, LGBTQ concepts are introduced including gender identities, coming out, relationships, and online safety by learning the language, culture, and resources to navigate and connect to the Toronto LGBTQ community.

Rainbow Cultural Adventures: Reducing Social Isolation Through the Arts

Providing opportunities for LGBTQ+ seniors to experience Toronto’s cultural landscape through outings to movies and cultural performances and educational speakers. The project will create connections among LGBTQ+ seniors, provide a sense of belonging, and foster community and pride.

Rainbows Pride in Scarborough (RPIS)

Galaxy Photo Express continues on from Disability Express Photo Shoot, allowing youth to educate and bring awareness to community organizations and broader community. Program will offer education, workshops, and trainings and decrease invisibility around ableism and sexism. Goal is to empower LGBTQ2+ youth to become educators and leaders in their own communities.

Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ2S Community: A Toolkit for Compassion and Inclusivity for Every Body

Creating a toolkit, available in both hard copy and electronically, to provide information on eating disorders regarding the unique needs of the LGBTQ2S Community. Material will focus on the requirements of the community who are directly affected by disordered eating and also provide guidance to professionals serving them.

Bind Safe

Creating an educational video series and downloadable PDF to promote safe binding practices, education around the basics of gender dysphoria, and additional resources where both youth and parents can seek support.

Searching For Eastman

Enhancing the immersive experience for audiences for the production by adding video projection to stage design and to create promotional material for dissemination to theatres.

Access Me – Boys in Chairs Collective

A new premier theatre piece created by Boys In Chairs Collective which will be co-produced with Cahoots Theatre at Toronto’s Buddies In Bad Times Theatre in the fall of 2020.

Glory Hole Gallery

The world’s first, and only, miniature gallery space dedicated to the creative talents of LGBTQ2S+ artists; all while pushing the boundaries of creativity within a 12″x 12″ box. We showcase the perspectives of diverse and intersectional LGBTQ2S+ experiences through collaborations, exhibitions, and talks

AQUA: Asian Queer Alliance

Food/craft socials, and educational or skills building workshops. Organizing at least one program per month with the goal to build the community support of at least 70 queer Asian cis and trans women and non-binary people in the GTA

The POZ-TO Awards

Awards recognizing those who are doing the work in our community to raise funds for AIDS Service Organizations (ASO’s) or awareness to fight the stigma associated with being HIV+. The 8th annual POZ-To Awards continues to build community and will happen at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.

Pay-it-Forward Community Nurturing

Participating in the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, June 2020 followed by  “Paying-It-Forward” into co-hosting a 2-day mini-conference in Toronto, February 2021, for GTA- based 2SLGBTQIAP, Deaf, Mad, disabled, and BIPOC youth and community members.  This initiative is led by Paperhouse Outreach Collective and their youth-leaders.

Music in Community: Rainbow Writes

Music workshops for LGBTTIQQ2S youth hosted at the legendary Phase One Studios. Under the mentorship of successful local LGBTQ2S+ artists, such as Lynx from Random Order, participating youth will collaborate on the creation of original songs of self-expression, advocacy and celebration f or their community.

Cultivate – LGBTQ Yoga Summit

Yoga summit focusing on QTBIPOC Yoga practitioners who are striving to create space for marginalized communities. The goal is to enhance knowledge through sharing circles, share practices/models and offer classes to the community

Mishmeres Nefashos

Piloting an educational workshop for college-age and high school student organizations and other community groups within the Orthodox Jewish community, creating awareness amongst community members regarding LGBTQ+ issues. We will empower participants to advocate for and work towards more inclusion in their communities.

Queer Food Guides

Promoting skill-sharing and care in LGBTQ+ communities through food by inviting LGBTQ+ people who are 50+ to host cooking classes with an inter-generational audience. Each session will include free food care packages delivered to people from our community who are in need.

Queer Food Guides

Offering a series of workshops in partnership with Bricks and Glitter 2019 – a grassroots community arts festival for QTBIPOC creatives and friends

Glory Hole Gallery

The world’s first, and only, miniature LGBTQ2S+ gallery, with a mandate to promote the immense artistic and creative talent of LGBTQ2S+ people past and present, and celebrate the multi-diversity within these communities

Insight Games - Aerissa Roy-Dupuis

Creating accessible board games with the purpose of bringing LGBTTIQQ2S persons with blindness, partial sight and deafblindness into the broader LGBTTIQQ2S community, both combatting social isolation and creating accessible recreation spaces

To My Grade 7 Self - The Get REAL Movement

An educational video and collaborative curriculum piece, with honest educational messages of advice about coming out, bullying, and support, from a diverse cast of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and allies

Midnight Lotus

Promoting community engagement and participation of older, socially isolated queer asian men (QAM 40+), facilitating intergenerational dialogue and connections through social and creative activities that build community and connect them to other programs and services at Asian Community AIDS Services

AQUA - Asian Queer Alliance

Monthly program with the goal to build the community support of at least 70 queer Asian cis and trans women and non-binary people in the GTA

Out to Win 2019 - ProudPolitics Leadership Organization

Focusing on barriers to civic leadership facing marginalized and under-represented LGBTTIQQ2S individuals from underserved areas in the GTA

Queering Education in ASL in Drag - Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf

Two hours of family and queer/trans friendly storytelling in ASL, plus educational information-sharing sessions bridging the gap between different identities in LGBTQIA spaces

Performance Creation Program - The Artists Mentoring Youth (AMY) Project

An opportunity for trans women and trans femmes of colour, ages 16-29, to create original performance work based on their lives, in an affirming and supportive space

Searching for Eastman - Citadel + Compagnie

A multidisciplinary performance piece based on the life and work of musical genius Julius Eastman (1940-1990) – Black/Queer, an exceptional outspoken voice in the (White) minimalistic music scene

Disability Express Photoshoot - Rainbow’s Pride in Scarborough

A youth-led art and costume-making workshop series, photoshoot and exhibition, recognizing the need for positive spaces that celebrate the diversity of LGBTQ2+ youth in Scarborough labelled with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities

Non-Binary Lives and the Journey of Faith - Generous Space Ministries

Production of a documentary film featuring non-binary individuals and their spiritual journeys to educate, particularly in the context of faith communities where non-binary folks are at significant risk of rejection and discrimination

Drumming Up! Taiko With RAW - Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers

Interactive arts-based workshops inviting LGBTQ2S+ community members to activate the power and potential of taiko for emotional expression and collective action

Machane Lev - Canadian Young Judaea

Canada’s first and only overnight LGBTQ+ Jewish summer camp, giving attendees a safe place to explore gender, sexual and religious identities

Rainbow Seniors: Proud and Active - Sunshine Centres for Seniors

Outings, art-making, and a speakers’ series to give LGBTQ+ seniors enjoyable opportunities for social interaction, physical exercise, cognitive stimulation and engagement in their community

Emergency Homeless Winter Support Kits - Fife House


Creating 100 emergency winter kits to be distributed to homeless HIV+ outreach clients in marginalized communities

QTBIPOC Drop-In - PFLAG Canada Durham Region

Connecting folks who identify within the QTBIPOC community to educational programming, resourceful support groups, volunteer/employment opportunities and social networking with Durham Region’s growing QTBIPOC community

Rainbow Tea Time - Birchcliff Bluffs United Church


Focusing on art, music and the enjoyment of an afternoon tea, the program will offer LGBTTIQQ2S participants an opportunity to make new friends, be themselves and share and enhance their creativity through art and music

The SKETCH Trans I.D. Clinic - SKETCH Working Arts for Street Involved and Homeless Youth


An access-to-justice project that will provide 40 transgender youth aged 16-29 with confidential and professional legal guidance to change name and/or gender markers on essential identification documents


Inside Out
Supporting Our Youth (SOY)
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape
Planned Parenthood Toronto
Rainbow Railroad
Sherbourne Health Centre
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto
Toronto PFLAG
Black Lives Mattter Toronto - Freedom School
Asian Community AIDS Services
Native Women in the Arts
Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf
Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention
Lucas Silveira and the Cliks
Children's Aid Society of Toronto


Jonathan R. Steinert and
Fernando Gumercindo Ferreiro

The Steinert & Ferreiro Award – a $10,000 prize that is Canada’s largest single cash award in recognition of LGBTQ+ leadership – was launched in 2005 through a bequest from the estates of Jonathan R. Steinert and Fernando Gumercindo Ferreiro.

The 2021 Steinert & Ferreiro Award nomination period is now CLOSED.  

The 2021 recipient will be contacted and announced in November 2021.  This years award will be presented at the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce “Black & White Gala” on Nov 19!

Fernando Gumercindo Ferreiro immigrated to Toronto from Santiago, Chile in 1973 to earn his doctorate in Psychology at the University of Toronto and established his own private practice here.

While on vacation in San Francisco in 1985, he met Jonathan Steinert and the two very quickly fell in love. Jonathan relocated to Toronto and assisted Fernando at his practice.

In 1990, Jonathan was tragically diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and quickly succumbed to his illness. Two years later, Fernando quietly passed away from AIDS in Casey House.

While not persecuted for his homosexuality in Chile, Fernando felt a certain degree of discrimination in Canada and wished that an organization would promote individuals who, through either the arts or sciences, made a significant contribution to the understanding and acceptance of gays and lesbians in the community. Fernando chose the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal (now Community One Foundation) as the organization to carry out his wishes.

Community contribution and leadership are at the heart of the LGBTTIQQ2S community, with leaders often working quietly to achieve growth, understanding and change.

The Steinert & Ferreiro Award celebrates these unsung heroes of our community. An individual will be presented with a commemorative award and a $10,000 cash prize. The recipient must agree to accept the award in-person and be publicly acknowledged for their contribution.


All individuals who have made a significant contribution through the arts and sciences in promoting the understanding and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer and two-spirited communities in the Greater Toronto Area are eligible to be nominated. The arts and sciences may include the humanities (literature, philosophy, etc.), the social sciences (law, psychology, politics, history, social work, community development, etc.), fine arts (music, theatre, film, etc.), and physical sciences (engineering, biology, medicine, etc.). Unsuccessful nominations can be eligible for consideration for the following year’s award by checking the appropriate box at the bottom of the nomination form.

Nominate someone in 4 easy steps

The 2021 Steinert & Ferreiro Award nomination period is now open.

STEP 1: Fully complete the Nomination Form; the Nominee and the Nominators must sign the Nomination Form in the signature boxes provided.

STEP 2: Write a 1,000-2,000 word letter outlining the individual’s accomplishments and significant contributions to the LGBTTIQQ2S community, with three people signing the letter (can be the nominators or others).

STEP 3: Gather letters supporting this application from 2-4 other individuals or organizations that are acquainted with this individual’s work and contributions.

STEP 4: Send the completed nomination submission by email – Attach all relevant documentation within one email and send to with the nominee’s name as the subject line.


Nomination Deadline

The 2021 Steinert & Ferreiro Award nominations are now closed (as of Friday, October 22, 2021 @ 5pm EST)

Award Announcement and Presentation

The 2021 Steinert & Ferreiro Award will be given out on November 19, 2021 at the Canadian LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce’s Black and White Gala.

To qualify for nomination of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award, the nominee must be physically present for the granting event if selected for the award and must sign the nomination form to indicate agreement to attend the event (or agree to pre-record acceptance ahead of the virtual event held in 2021 due to COVID limitations)

For more information, please contact the Community One Foundation at

Steinert & Ferreiro Award Recipients

leZlie lee kam – 2021

Community One Foundation honoured leZlie lee kam as the 2021 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award.

leZlie came out through LOOT (the Lesbian OrganizaIon of Toronto) in 1977. As a peer counsellor on the LOOT phone line, leZlie helped to facilitate the coffee house/drop-in program for interested parIes and members and was instrumental in pu[ng dykes, lesbians and gay men of colour in the Toronto Pride parade through advocacy with The Proud and Visible CoaliIon (1992), World Majority Lesbians – A REVOLUTION OF COLOUR (1993 – 1998) and Queer Womyn Colouring The Century (1999). leZlie was also instrumental in organizing Island Spice (1999), a monthly celebraIon for 2Spirit, dykes, lesbians, gay men and trans people of colour.

For decades, leZlie has been fiercely commifed to raising the proud and joyful visibility of 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors, ensuring out individuals don’t feel pressure to retreat into the closet as they age. From recently serving since 2016 as the only openly queer representaIve on the Provincial Liason Commifee of the Ministry of Senior Affairs and Accessibility, to co-organizing and hosIng InternaIonal Day of Older Persons queer events, and developing 2SLGBTQIA+ Best PracIce Guidelines for service providers in Ontario, leZlie is a huge force in creaIng visibility and dignity in ageing as a 2SLGBTQ+ individual.


Christopher Nkambwe – 2020

Community One Foundation honoured Christopher Nkambwe as the 2020 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award.

Nkambwe is a journalism graduate and long-time human rights defender.  She founded The African Centre For Refugees in Ontario Canada – working towards integrating LGBTQIA+ refugees to Canada through extensive social work and community development.    Her accomplishments in this space started in Uganda, where she served as Executive Director and volunteered with many LGBTQIA+ organizations. In 2019, Christopher was conducting voluntary peer outreach for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, along with Hepatitis B screening and condom distribution, when Ugandan police raided, attacked and threatened her with life imprisonment, which led her to seek asylum in Canada.  Upon arriving in Toronto, Canada as a refugee claimant she realized the challenges faced by newcomers and decided to make a difference – running her organization with her part-time job cleaning salary, and no external funding.

Kimahli Powell – 2019

Community One Foundation honoured Kimahli Powell as the 2019 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award.

Powell’s work as Executive Director of Rainbow Railroad has exemplified his leadership in the LGBTQ+ community, as has his much lauded past work with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention.

At the helm of Rainbow Railroad, Mr. Powell oversaw the relocation of more than 500 LGBTQ+ refugees from hostile countries.

Monica Forrester – 2018

Monica Forrester has spent two decades bringing life-saving support to the trans community, particularly underhoused trans women sex workers for whom she has been a powerful voice.

Monica began as an outreach worker, delivering crucial resources to trans women, particularly those in sex work.

She has educated and helped transform services for better inclusion of homeless trans women in Toronto, and played a key role in the Trans Access Project to bring to light the specific needs of trans sex workers to thousands of people working in the city’s homeless shelters, crisis centres and detox services.

Her tireless contributions have included work at such institutions as the 519, Fife House, Fred Victor Centre, Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women, Black CAP, PASAN, Mainstay Housing, Elizabeth Fry Society, Street Health and Maggie’s Sex Worker Action Project.

Monica continues her almost decade-long role in outreach through Maggie’s Sex Worker Action Project. Understanding the importance of intersection in discrimination, she established a Trans and Two Spirit support group in honour of her deceased friend, Alloura Wells, and continues to support her community of Two Spirit survivors of violence in the legal system and seeking justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Dennis Findlay - 2017

Dennis Findlay has been an activist in Ontario LGBTQ+ communities for more than 40 years. He began his involvement in the LGBTQ causes in university, organizing social events to help strengthen the community. After moving to Toronto in the mid-1970s, he volunteered at Pink Triangle Press and opened a bakery – Altitude Baking – catering many LGBTQ fundraisers. He became involved with the Right to Privacy Committee after the 1981 bathhouse raids in Toronto, helping organize protests, fundraise and coordinating legal support. Upon finding out some of the accused lacked legal representation, Findlay represented a dozen of the accused as a “friend of the court”, even going to trial twice. He won both cases. Dennis also organized Gay Court Watch to help defend those charged for consensual sex, and established the Gay Street Patrol to combat homophobic attacks. In 2017, Dennis is still inspiring young activists and serves as President of the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives.

Doug Kerr - 2016

dougkerrDoug Kerr is a well-known activist in Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2S communities. He is one of the founders of the LGBT Giving Network, a collaboration dedicated to enhancing philanthropy supporting LGBT and HIV/AIDS causes. He spent six years on the Board of Directors of Sherbourne Health Centre, one of Canada’s leading organizations for LGBT health services, and was Chair of the Human Rights Program for Pride Toronto where he co-chaired the WorldPride Human Rights Conference in June 2014. He has also spent a number of years as Co-Chair of InterPride’s Solidarity Fund, supporting emerging Pride organizations around the world, and as a volunteer lead with the Dignity Initiative, a collaborative of organizations across Canada interested in enhancing Canada’s support of human rights for LGBT people globally. Due to his community leadership, he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He and his husband Michael are co-owners of Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest LGBTQ bookstore in the world.

Nik Redman - 2015

Nik Redman has made incredible contributions to the LGBTTIQQ2S community in Toronto – work that has had an impressive impact through his tireless work as an artist, activist and community worker. Redman’s activism, particularly within the trans community in Toronto has been wide-reaching. A small sampling of his work includes being a member of the GBQ Trans Mens’ Working Group, Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance and is one of the creators of “Primed: A Back Pocket Guide for Trans Guys and the Guys Who Dig ‘Em”. He was a co-investigator for the Trans MSM Study as well as one of the co-investigators of The Trans PULSE Project, a community-based research project within Ontario’s trans community, and was one of the online facilitators for the province-wide HIV/AIDS-themed Stigma Campaign. Redman is also a founding member of the Transparent-cy Working Group at The 519 Community Centre, and helped to initiate the Trans-Fathers 2B course– the first course for trans men considering parenting in North America. Redman has also made an impact with his work in the arts, and is a programmer for the Inside Out Film and Video Festival. As a member of Blackness Yes!, he has been instrumental in programming the Blockorama stage at Pride Toronto. Redman is also an award-winning DJ, writer and radio programmer.

Vivek Shraya - 2014

Vivek Shraya is a visionary artist and dynamic educator and organizer who has contributed tirelessly to the LGBTQ community in Toronto and across the world. The What I LOVE about being QUEER project, now in its third year, illustrates the fusion of art and activism that is integral to all of Shraya’s work. Shraya created this project in response to concerns he was hearing from the queer and questioning youth he works with in his job as Positive Space Coordinator at George Brown College. Many of the youth who came to talk with him were struggling to embrace aspects of their sexual and gender identities and/or to gain acceptance within their families, peer groups and communities. After reflecting on these concerns, he wondered how our perspective on ourselves, our communities, and our futures might change if we shared more stories about the joys of being queer. To shift the focus of discussions about sexual and gender diversity to celebrate LGBTQ lives, Vivek asked thirty-four self-identified queer people to answer one simple question: ‘What do you love about being queer?’ The resulting short film has traveled the globe and expanded into a larger project with an online home ( as well as a book. All proceeds from the book benefit George Brown College’s Positive Space Award fund, and has raised over $13,000 in scholarships for queer and trans students so far. In addition to What I LOVE about being QUEER, Shraya is also a musician, who’s latest album, All Of The Lights: A Diwali/Christmas EP celebrates a blending of cultures as well as a consideration of what it means to come home.  His most recent novel, She of the Mountains was published by Arsenal Pulp Press this fall to rave reviews. Shraya’s work actively promotes a deeper understanding of the complexity of the lives of queer and trans people and builds positive, productive relationships within and amongst a wide range of diverse communities.

Savoy Howe - 2013

savoySavoy Howe, founder of the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Gym, is a tireless advocate for inclusiveness and social justice in sport. She is also an actor, playwright, and activist who believe that sport and the theatre are important vehicles for change. Savoy has made countless contributions toward the safety, recognition and include of the queer community in the Greater Toronto Area. Savoy took up boxing in 1992; a year after women’s boxing was legalized in Canada. In 1994, she agreed to talk about being a lesbian boxer for a TSN documentary. She went on to become the 1995 Provincial Silver medalist, 2010 Provincial Gold medalist and the 2010 National Silver medalist. Savoy has been running the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club for 20 years and has over 3000 alumnae. Its mission is “to provide a safe and positive space for women and trans people to explore the sport of boxing.” The club offers recreational boxing to any person regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, or HIV status. One of Savoy’s major commitments is working with survivors of violence, particularly from within the queer community. She has helped to create a much-needed physical activity space while fostering greater understanding of trans issues within the broader LFTTIQQ2S and straight community.

Syrus Marcus Ware - 2012

syrusSyrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth-advocate and educator. He is the Program Coordinator of the AGO Youth Program, Art Gallery of Ontario.  As a visual artist, Syrus works within the mediums of painting, installation and performance to challenge systemic oppression.  Syrus’ work explores the spaces between and around identities; acting as provocations to our understandings of gender, sexuality and race. Syrus recently co-edited an issue of the Journal of Museum Education entitled Building Diversity in Museums, which focused on strategies for diversifying galleries and museums internationally. In 2005, Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by Now Magazine. For the past 6 years, Syrus has worked with Blackness Yes! to produce Blockorama (the black queer and trans stage at Pride), 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. He is a founding member of the Transparent-cy Working Group at The 519 Community Centre. He helped to initiate the Trans-Fathers 2B course- the first course for trans men considering parenting in North America. Syrus is also a member of the Gay/Bi Trans Men’s HIV Prevention Working Group for the Ontario AIDS Bureau. Syrus holds degrees in Art History, Visual Studies and a Masters in Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto.

Ryan Hinds - 2011

ryanhindsA visionary far beyond his years, Ryan has made and continues to make significant contributions to the acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ community; he has enriched art, culture and activism for all, particularly for communities of people of colour and youth. During his years as an advocate and visionary in the community, Ryan’s commitment has included, but is not limited to, co-founding The ARTWHERK! Collective, overseeing the Buddies in Bad Times 2009 Art Auction & LGBT Youth line’s 2007 Art Auction. He has been a proud volunteer with SOY (Supporting Our Youth) since the late 90s and spoken to student audiences at Ryerson, UofT and Guelph on topics of empowerment, identity and queer black history. For his commitment to the LGBTQ youth community and his leadership in LGBTQ arts and culture, Ryan joins honourees as an S&F Award recipient.

Rupert Raj - 2010

rupertA transformative figure in the trans community for close to 40 years, Rupert Raj has won numerous awards in Canada and United States for his eless advocacy and support for trans rights. In his many roles, which have included counselor, psychotherapist, educator, professional trainer, consultant, gender specialist, clinical researcher, writer and activist, he has helped foster greater understanding of trans issues within the broader LGBTTIQQ2S and straight communities. He currently works as a mental health counselor at the Sherbourne Health Centre, and is an active member of the Rainbow Health Network’s Trans Health Lobby Group.

Rachel Epstein – 2008

rachelRachel Epstein has been a queer parenting activist, educator and researcher for over 20 years and has made innumerable and pivotal contributions towards the support, recognition and inclusion of queer parents and their children in Canada. She has provided resources, advocacy and education to queer parents and prospective parents in the Greater Toronto area (GTA) and beyond, and has worked tirelessly to change attitudes and practices in the wider community. In 1997, with midwife Kathie Duncan, Rachel founded the Dykes Planning Tykes program, a course for lesbian/bi/queer women who are considering parenthood. In 2001 she was hired to develop the LGBTQ Parenting Network, originally housed at Family Service Toronto and now at the Sherbourne Health Centre. She and her daughter and co-parent were parties in the 2005 Charter Challenge that resulted in changes to birth registration procedures in Ontario, and recently she has advocated on behalf of LGBTQ communities with the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency in Ottawa. Rachel also works as a professional mediator with LGBTQ parents and prospective parents. She edited the book Who’s Your Daddy? and other writings on queer parenting, published by Sumach Press in April 2009.

Reverend Brent Hawkes – 2007

hawkesAs the Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Rev. Hawkes has been at the forefront of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Community in Toronto. A member of the Order of Canada, he serves as spiritual leader to a faith community of some 575 congregants at regular Sunday worship. As well, he has served the community at large with distinction, championing several Human Rights initiatives, especially benefiting the LGBT Community. “Rev. Hawkes exemplifies what the Steinert and Ferreiro Award seeks to achieve,” says LGCA Foundation board secretary and award committee chair, Rupen Seoni. “We have to celebrate and thank leaders like Brent that have made significant contributions in promoting the understanding and acceptance of LGBT people. Generations to come will benefit from his dedication to community service.”

El-Farouk Khaki – 2006

el-faroukEl-Farouk Khaki has played a major role in paving the way in Canada for refugee protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender. A longtime champion of equality and human rights, El-Farouk Khaki is a passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS, sexual orientations, ethnic minorities and integration issues. He broke ground by organizing the first female-led, mixed gender Muslim prayer in Canada. “El-Farouk’s pioneering work has brought awareness and sensitivity of sexual orientation and gender issues to the mainstream Muslim community” – Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer

Bev Bain – 2005 (2 of 2)

bevbainBeverly is a Black lesbian feminist, anti-racism/anti-oppression and anti-violence educator and trainer. She has worked in the anti-violence and anti-racism movement for more than 20 years. Beverly has lectured and delivered presentations across the country and internationally on equality rights, violence against women and police investigation practices of sexual assault of women, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender communities. She has published in Fireweed and the Canadian Women’s Studies Journal and edited its most recent edition. Beverly currently teaches Sexual Politics and Women and Health in the Women’s Studies Program at Laurentian University/Georgian College. Beverly was one of the recipients of the 2005 inaugural Steinert and Ferreiro Award from the LGCA, for her contributions to advance the cause of lesbians, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered/transsexual and queer communities in Canada.

George Hislop – 2005 (1 of 2)

george_hislopGeorge Hislop (1927-2005) is known as one of Canada’s most influential gay activists. He was the first openly gay candidate for municipal office in Canada, as well as the first openly gay candidate for any political office in Ontario and was a key figure in the early development of Toronto’s gay and lesbian community. Hislop studied speech and drama at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1949. He subsequently worked as an actor, and ran an interior design company with his partner, Ron Shearer. In 2003, Hislop was one of several gay activists who launched a class action lawsuit against the federal government. The government had extended Canada Pension Plan benefits to the surviving same-sex partners of deceased pensioners as of 1998, but the change was not retroactive to earlier deaths. Shearer had died in 1986, making Hislop ineligible for survivor benefits. The suit aimed to have retroactive benefits extended back to the 1985 inclusion of gay and lesbian equality rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On November 26, 2004, the lawsuit ended in victory for Hislop and his co-plaintiffs, although the federal government subsequently filed a controversial appeal of the decision. The federal government lost this appeal on March 1, 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled in Hislop’s favour. In October 2005, just one week after his passing, Hislop was posthumously awarded the inaugural Jonathan R. Steinert and Fernando G. Ferreiro Award, Canada’s largest award for contributions to LGBT communities.