Canada’s LGBT human rights Q Hall of Fame has announced its 2011 inductees, including Alliance for Arts and Culture communications and special events director Kevin Dale McKeown.
The twelve inductees will be recognized for their contributions to human rights and equality in Canada on July 30 at Q Ball, a gala induction ceremony at the Wall Centre Grand Ballroom.
Former inductees include such notables as former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Olympian Mark Tewksbury.
“This honour is not for anything I've done recently for the gay community -- I mostly limit my activism these days to writing contrarian letters to the editor of XTRA” Kevin remarked on receiving the news.
“But someone has remembered the 1970s and my time as the Georgia Straight's gay columnist, writing weekly under the banner "QQ Writes ... Page 69" and chronicling the formative years of the gay community -- and decided that I was a worthy candidate.
“I don't know who nominated me, but I am touched and honoured to be pulled out of the dustbin of history and dusted off for this special recognition. Our friend ted northe last year honoured me with an Empress of Canada Humanitarian Award and seems to have started a trend.
“I've never really thought of my efforts as being in the same league as the many human rights and gay liberation pioneers whose endeavours I wrote about. But in shuffling through some old papers recently I came across a note from a dear friend, the late Sandy St. Peters, who was perhaps the greatest star of what some would call Vancouver's golden age of drag.
“On reading my farewell column, Sandy took the time to write to me:
"Dear QQ. I can't believe that you are quitting. I'm in tears while I write this note. You have been so important to all of us all these years. Your articles were the first time we could read about ourselves where someone wasn't making fun of us or putting us down ..."
“Well, I was just having fun and learning some word-crafting that would see me through the rest of my semi-productive life, but maybe QQ did do something useful," concluded Kevin. “I guess it really was the first time we saw our lives reflected in the media in a way that wasn't dismissive and demeaning.
The 2011 inductees in the “Individual” category are:
- Rick Bébout - Long time journalist and member of the Body Politic.
- Karen Busby: - Law professor, solicitor and human rights advocate.
- Jeremy Diaz - Founder of Jer’s Vision and national advocate for youth and equality in our education system.
- Gens Hellquist - Pioneer of gay liberation in Canada, having started the first gay/lesbian organization in Saskatoon in 1971.
- NiQ Lavergne - Activist and founder of the Victoria Lesbian Buddy Program.
- k.d. lang - Internationally acclaimed musician, singer, philanthropist, and human rights activist.
- Kevin Dale McKeown - Journalist, arts publicist, and pioneer gay community columnist.
- Cynthia Petersen - A partner with the Toronto firm of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, Cynthia Petersen has argued a number of prominent cases on behalf of gay men and lesbians.
- Mirha-Soleil Ross - Artist, performer, entertainer and activist.
- Delwin Vriend - Canadian who was at the center of a landmark provincial and federal legal case, Vriend v. Alberta, concerning gay rights in Canada.
- Garth Weins - Entertainer, activist, and founder of many social programs in northern British Columbia.
In the Societies/Charities/Organizations category this year’s inductee is the Dogwood Monarchy Society (DMS), the “mother” Court of the Canadian Drag Court System. The DMS has successfully been an advocate of, raised awareness, support and over 10 million charitable dollars for the community of Vancouver for 40 years.
“Not only is the Q Hall of Fame about honouring our pioneers, but it is also about documenting and remembering the accomplishments and lives of these amazing members of our community,” said Paul Therien, chairperson for the Q Hall of Fame Canada.
“They are role models, not just for members of the LGBT community, but for all Canadians. The Q Hall of Fame inductees are a true source of pride, admiration and dignity for us all. It is through the vision and accomplishments of such pioneers that future generations may better understand and embrace our community and culture.”
Q Ball will be held Saturday, July 30, 2011 at the close of the International Human Rights Conference held at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver. Tickets are $90. For more info and tickets, visit www.qhalloffame.ca
“Partnering with the International Human Rights Conference this year for Q Ball made sense to us as it fully aligns with the mandate of the Q Hall of Fame” said Therien. “This is about human rights pioneers, and what better place to honour them then at an international conference?”
About The Q Hall of Fame: The Q Hall of Fame Canada is a national resource headquartered in Vancouver to house and commemorate the diverse history of the LGBT community. Not only is the Hall of Fame about honouring those that have pioneered the rights of the LGBT community, but it is about documenting and remembering the accomplishments and lives of these amazing people. Inductees are selected by an independent committee from nominations received from people in the community. www.qhalloffame.ca
About Q Ball: Touted by international media in 2009 as being a glamorous black tie event attended by many of Canada's leaders in the LGBT and Canadian Community, Q Ball is the induction ceremony for the Q Hall of Fame. In an effort to ensure that Q Ball is affordable for all, tickets have been reduced by almost 50% to $90. With limited seating tickets will sell quickly.
Proceeds from Q Ball go to a national university scholarship program, the Q Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to youth who have demonstrated their commitment to equality in education, sport and life.
About GLISA: The Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association is the organizing group of the OutGames and the International Human Rights Conference. For more information about GLISA and the 2011 Vancouver North American OutGames and Human Rights Conference please visit: http://www.vancouver2011outgames.com/