Meet the 2016 Vancouver Pride Parade Grand Marshals!

Meet the 2016 Vancouver Pride Parade Grand Marshals!

Alex Sangha
Alex Sangha

Role Model

Alex Sangha is an award winning author, social worker, and advocate for equality and human rights. He was elected Co-Chair of Pride UBC where he fundraised close to $10,000.00 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Outweek. Alex was involved with the Gay Warriors talking circle and was elected Secretary on their Board. Alex is also the Founder of Sher Vancouver which is a social, cultural, and support group for LGBTQ2+ South Asians and their friends, families, and allies. Sher has over 600 members.

The DOSTI project is an anti-bullying, racism, homophobia, and transphobia workshop that Alex launched from scratch in April 2009. As part of his Master of Social Work practicum, Alex decided to bring the LGBTQ2+ community together to develop affordable housing for LGBTQ2+ seniors and allies called Dignity House. Alex secured close to $40,000.00 to do a market and feasibility study and Dignity House is now a non-profit society. Alex is currently working to advance LGBTQ2+ programs and services within Fraser Health Authority. He has developed the DOSTI Project (HIV edition).

The Out and Proud Project celebrates the strength and diversity of amazing queer South Asians. This popular blog has attracted approximately 20 profiles and over 10,000 hits. Alex is currently producing a documentary film about the late Sher Vancouver social coordinator, January Marie Lapuz, who was a trans woman of colour. Alex also founded and supports the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award which is a $500 annual cash prize.

Alex feels we can all be "role models". We can set an example for other countries. In India and many parts of the world homosexuality is illegal and our queer friends are persecuted. We have a duty to advocate for equality and fundamental human rights for everyone everywhere. Our beautiful corner of the world can provide support and strength and a blueprint to implement improved laws for queers around the globe.

Danny Ramadan
Danny Ramadan

Local Hero

Danny Ramadan is a Jack-of-all-trades who found his calling in activism, civil justice, journalism and creative writing. As an LGBTQ2+ activist, he has been involved in coordinating online and on the ground efforts to support gender and sexual minorities in Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon as well as in his birthplace of Syria.
Danny is currently the Volunteer Coordinator at QMUNITY - BC's Queer Resource Centre, and hopes to give back to the community that welcomed and embraced him since his arrival to Canada in September of 2014.

He is passionate about the values of volunteerism and democracy; and the causes of social justice and LGBTQ2+ refugee's rights. He demonstrates his commitment to these causes through his involvement with local and international organizations and persons, back in the Middle East as well as here in Canada, to build a support system for LGBTQ2+ refugees from Syria.

He personally sponsored two sisters from Syria, raising over $46.000 towards their sponsorship, he is also involved in forming and supporting eight Canadian groups of Vancouverites who are working towards sponsoring LGBTQ2+ Syrian refugees, bringing a total of 11 Syrian LGBTQ2+ refugees to Canada in 2016.

Through his storytelling and public speaking engagement, Danny advocates for the rights of refugees across British Columbia and Canada.

Danny is also an experienced journalist with bylines appearing in the Washington Post, The Guardian and Foreign Policy. He is also an author, with two collections of short stories published in Arabic. He is working on his first novel in English, to be published soon.

Finally, Danny is a comics nerd. He is also addicted to Netflix. He has been ignoring his friends' constant advice to stop using the word "awesome" way too much.

"Being the Grand Marshal of the Vancouver Pride Parade is an honor and a privilege I take to the heart. As someone who comes from a country where homosexuality is criminalized, representing myself and the LGBTQ2+ Syrian refugee community is a responsibility and opportunity for me to share the stories of diaspora and show the world that we are proud of who we are. It sends a message to all my brothers and sisters as they go through immigration and refugees that a better tomorrow is possible, if not probable".

Morgane Oger
Morgane Oger

National Hero

Morgane is the transgender mom of two who is on a mission to normalize transgender identities at civic, provincial, and federal levels through advocacy and LGBTQ2+ community organizing. She became engaged in social justice advocacy with the hope to help shape a future for her kids in which having a gender-variant parent would not be an automatic liability.

She is working to enable transgender families like hers to live full and normal lives by engaging with communities, their leaders, and policy makers in order to help them understand the urgency of the need for change in attitudes towards transgender persons, as well as their benefit to us all.

Morgane sits on the City of Vancouver's LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee where she is working to improve VPD policies to improve the experience of trans persons during police interactions. She is the secretary of the District Parent Advisory Committee of the Vancouver Board of Education, from where she advocates for LGBTQ2+ students in the school board as the only out, elected, member of the LGBTQ2+ community.

Morgane is the chair of the Trans Alliance Society which advocates for transgender / gender-variant Canadians. As chair, Morgane is pursuing improvements in health policy change, adherence and clarification of transgender human rights, and support of queer youth in BC. Currently, Morgane's focus lies in convincing the BC and federal governments to explicitly protect gender identity and gender expression in human rights law and in achieving mandatory support to LGBTQ2+ students in BC schools.

Morgane drives a really big ship and has submarine racing experience. Her knitting is sub-par but she holds a doctorate in oil-stove-cooking. She sporadically leads advocacy expeditions into the deepest and darkest of Conservative Canada's hearts.


Posthumous Hero

Her Imperial Sovereign Majesty - The first elected Empress of Vancouver, British Columbia - The Mother Court of Canada - Empress I, Charity St. Peters.

Family, community, tradition, kindness, artistry, compassion, integrity, loyalty, humour and love... These are a few words that come to mind when thinking of Empress I Charity St. Peters.

Our beloved Empress Charity has inspired the citizens of two great nations as an entertainer, a monarch, a friend, a life partner and as a mother for over 45 years.

As the first elected Empress in Canada in 1972, Charity worked alongside the founder of the Canadian Court System, The Empress of Canada Mr. ted northe to pioneer and foster a support system, social organization and a home away from home for Vancouver's LGBTQ2+ community. As each year passed, new monarchs were elected and the growth of the community and our court flourished. With pride, great majesty, tradition and honour, the court system became a valuable community resource, not only in Vancouver, but throughout our proud nation. Charity continued to champion the monarchs who followed, encouraging and mentoring them through the example of her dedication and inspiration. Her compassionate nature and charm enveloped everyone she met with love and acceptance. Charity's sense of humour,her warm smile and the sparkle in her eyes made people feel instantly welcome. She was the quintessential example of what an Empress could be. So admired was she as a monarch, that the Court of Seattle honoured Charity with the title 'Empress Emeritus' in 1986 and the Empress of Canada, Mr.ted northe bestowed her the title of 'Grand Ma Mere' (Queen Mother) of all of Canada in 2012 - the 40th anniversary of her crowning.

Charity gave tirelessly of herself to support LGBTQ2+ communities. For each of us in her Imperial Family, she consistently, and for decades, went out of her way to make sure that she was there for everyone. We all adored Charity and looked up to her, not only as a shining example of regal decorum, but for her friendship, great wit and charisma. Charity's exquisite artistry as a performer, costumer, and wig stylist was awe-inspiring, and she shared these talents freely with fellow artists. If somebody she cared about needed help getting prepared for an event, be it a small bar appearance or the most regal of coronations, Charity would offer her talent, innovativeness and immense sense of style to ensure that they looked and felt their best. She truly wanted them to feel special and shine.
Her relationship of over 44 years with Sir Dino Padgett remains a glowing example of family, commitment and unconditional love. They met at Charity's stepdown and never left each other's side. They created a life together that tells a true love story. Charity would often be brought to tears as she talked about the love she felt for her family and friends. Dino and Charity's extended family includes their pups 'Harley' and 'Paulo', their chosen children, Olympia 16 of Seattle Sofonda Peters, Empress 35 Vancouver, BC Jaylene Tyme, and the many special and unique people whose lives they touched throughout the years in Seattle, Vancouver and beyond.

It is truly a legacy of kindness, beauty and love...That's our Charity I.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will not forget how you made them feel..." Maya Angelou

Rest Peacefully Your Majesty.


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