Power, Policy & Queerness: Panel & Networking

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 14:00to16:30
Thomson House 3650 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 1Y2, CA

Expert panel + graduate students networking

How has the landscape changed for 2SLGBTQI+-centered policymaking in Canada?

In recent years, advocates, academics, and policymakers in Canada have continued to underscore the importance of embedding 2SLGBTQI+ issues into policymaking to address historic and ongoing systemic barriers faced by community members in accessing education, healthcare, and legal systems.

Most recently, the Government of Canada released its first Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, earmarking a $100 million budget commitment over five years, including establishing an implementation Secretariat. The Action Plan prioritizes supporting 2SLGBTQI+ community organizations, advancing 2SLGBTQI+ rights, and engaging the Canadian public.

This panel seeks to highlight diverse perspectives of individuals and organizations working on policy issues affecting 2SLGBTQI+ communities across Canada. Speakers are invited to reflect on how changes in the policy landscape have created opportunities, or posed risks to their work, and to share their recommendations for the way forward in Canada.

After the panel, there will be a space for attendees and panelists to network and share ideas. All are welcome to stay!

About our speakers and their organizations:

Curt Wackett (he/him/his) is Programs & Policy Research Officer at Rainbow Railroad with a variety of international development, NGO, and start-up experience in cities including Guadalajara, Kalamata, Fredericton, and now in Tkaronto. Curt is humbled to have landed his dream career working in service of a queer community beyond borders, advocating for a queer internationalism building a network of care for those seeking a new way of life free of persecution. Curt holds a MSc in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics, a Master of Global Affairs from the Munk School at the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Philosophy with a minor in Political Science from the University of New Brunswick where he was also an openly queer two-sport varsity athlete.

Rainbow Railroad is a global not-for-profit organization that helps LGTBQI+ people facing persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. In a time when there are more displaced people than ever before, LGBTQI+ people are uniquely vulnerable due to systemic, state-enabled homophobia and transphobia. These factors either displace them in their own country or prevent them from escaping harm. As a result of Rainbow Railroad, more LGBTQI+ individuals will be able to access lives free from persecution.

Jaime Sadgrove (they/them) is a storyteller, advocate, and theatre maker based on the unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg. In their role as the Manager of Communications and Advocacy at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), Jaime works to elevate the voices and needs of 2SLGBTQI+ youth on a national level. Jaime holds a degree in Communications and Media Studies from Carleton University, and has experience in of nonprofit communications, arts administration, youth education, and community-driven policy development.

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) is a national youth-led, youth-serving organization dedicated to building a future free from discrimination through education and advocacy. The CCGSD is headquartered on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people in what is colonially known as Ottawa, and its staff live and work across Turtle Island. CCGSD's core programming focuses on in-classroom workshops to grow youth knowledge on topics like queer history, comprehensive sexuality education, and intersectionality and diversity. CCGSD also engages in advocacy at the local, provincial, and federal levels to push for policy that responds to the needs of 2SLGBTQI+ youth.

Chris Karas (he/him) is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist. He is also the present litigant in the federal case of Christopher Karas v. Canadian Blood Services and Health Canada. He is challenging the MSM, men who have sex with other men, blood donation deferral policy at the Canadian Human Rights Commission to change Canada's blood donation policy. He challenged the policy when he was barred from donating lifesaving blood at a local blood donation clinic. The federal legal challenge was accepted September 3rd 2016 and could result in significant public policy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to end the policy in 2015. Principal at Karas Legal Services P.C., Christopher Karas, is a litigant in some high profile cases, a licensed Paralegal of the Law Society of Upper Canada and mediator. He mainly focuses on provincial and federal Human Rights matters.


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