1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 28

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

International Day of Pink Gala

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on April 13, 2016, I was proud to speak at the International Day of Pink Gala. The event celebrates the efforts of youth, community and business to stand up to homophobia, transphobia and bullying in our community. I was proud to wear pink along with over 10.2 million Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

This year, the theme was dialogues. The organization behind the Day of Pink, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, organized over 30 conversations with youth and mayors in municipalities across our country.

As you know bullying, hate and oppression remain major problems in our schools, communities and workplaces.

To celebrate this day, the centre held a gala with over 600 people in the nation’s capital. I was honoured to be one of the award presenters recognizing local, national and international activists for the work in our community.

I would specifically like to recognize Kim Katrin Milan for her work on trans and queer issues in Black communities and people of colour communities. I would also like to acknowledge our American award recipients, Nance Lomax and Suzanne Poli, who stood up at the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969.

The event included Senator Nancy Ruth; Minister Ralph Goodale; and MPs Randy Boissonnault, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, Kamal Khera, Bernadette Jordan, and Randall Garrison; as well as Ambassadors from Australia, Costa Rica, India, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States.

I would also like to make a special note that this campaign and this program were organized entirely by youth. I would especially like to acknowledge the work of Emily Fergusson in creating and organizing the International Day of Pink’s campaign this year and her work from coast to coast to coast.

As we all know, there are special people who, year after year, raise our awareness on issues of homophobia and transphobia. Jeremy Dias has worked tirelessly, especially on behalf of young people. I salute all of Jeremy’s work for all the young people to be heard.

Honourable senators, homophobia and transphobia are not problems we can legislate. The truth is that we must reach the hearts and minds of Canadians to create lasting change. This involves dialogues, training and an ongoing commitment. This work is not a destination; rather, it requires an ongoing commitment from each of us to challenge ourselves and the individuals around us to improve our behaviours and actions. We each need to look into our hearts and ask ourselves, “How can I help someone today?”

Bullying prevention is not about reaching a goal, but rather like recycling every day. It requires ongoing education, attention, learning and passion to keep at it so that everyone can feel safe, respected and loved, no matter where they are in our country.


As senators, we have a responsibility to promote diversity and respect within our communities. To me, that means listening to everyone, especially young people who need our support. During these tough times, our young people are certainly at risk and need our attention.


I urge all honourable senators to join the conversation by hosting a Day of Pink dialogue in April 2017.