Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
|Formation||2005 as Jer's Vision|
|Purpose||Anti-Bullying, Gay rights in Canada|
Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity works to stop bullying, discrimination and homophobia in schools and communities in Canada, and abroad. Through workshops, presentations, training conferences, and by supporting youth initiatives, they engage youth in celebrating diversity. [clarification needed]
The organization uses a model that is youth led; looks at concepts such as diversity inclusively & intersectionally; works to customize programming for communities; and seeks to engage everyone in a dialogue of diversity.[clarification needed]
The CCGSD, then known as Jer's Vision, was founded by Jeremy Dias and a 6-member board in 2005, following Dias’ legal case against his school board. Started originally as a scholarship, the organization grew to a range of programs that engage schools in examining the culture of their school and providing them with programming to address challenges around bullying, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination.
In March 2015, Jer's Vision changed its name to the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
Programming in Schools
The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity works with schools to develop and provide programming that engages students, staff and community to understand bullying, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia. This includes presentations, workshops, conferences, training, professional development and efforts that support youth initiatives and clubs. The organization works across Canada, especially in rural communities, and in the Northern United States.
Working in Communities
In 2007, youth from Jer's Vision were inspired by David Shepherd and Travis Price to start the International Day of Pink. The initiative supports youth actions to stop bullying in schools and communities. In 2012, over 8 million people participate in the International Day of Pink.
The organization sits on a variety of committees and contributes to work across Canada. They have participated in activism and activities with the Parliament of Canada, the Senate, Ontario Government, Ontario Chiefs of Police, and the City of Ottawa.
Recognizing Community Leaders
Starting in 2006, Jer's Vision began recognizing individuals and groups with the Youth Role Model of the Year award. The award recognizes persons who have done exceptional work to stop bullying, discrimination in their communities at their annual Gala. Past recipients of the award include Rick Mercer, Jack Layton, Lori Taylor & Brandon Timmerman, Stephen Lewis, Brian Burke, Elder William Commanda, Libby Davies, Hedy Fry, Adamo Ruggiero, Matthew Good and Sheila Copps.
The Gay Sweater
On March 24, 2015 the CCGSD launched The Gay Sweater. The campaign, aimed at reclaiming the phrase "that's so gay" by creating an actual gay object - namely a sweater knit from yarn made from 100% human hair donated by the LGBT community - was timed to coincide with Toronto Fashion Week. The Gay Sweater received widespread coverage and the YouTube video had 45,000 views in the first 48 hours.
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