Get to know our nominees for Person of the Year, one of several Simcoe County Pride Awards.
Keenan Aylwin was a candidate for MPP in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte for the 2018 provincial election and is currently a candidate for Barrie city council in Ward 2. Keenan was the second openly gay candidate for political office in Barrie’s history and the first-ever openly gay candidate for Barrie city council.
He is a community organizer, activist, and has worked as an urban farmer. He is passionate about social justice and has been an outspoken advocate for various causes in Barrie, including LGBTQ2+ rights, anti-racism and climate action. During the provincial election, Keenan was endorsed by Proud Politics, an organization that supports and promotes LGBTQ2+ candidates across Canada.
Dr. Marissa Rodway-Norman is a physician at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH) as well as a member of OSMH's LGBTQ2S Committee. In her work she participates in research and mentors colleagues with respect to Trans-inclusive care.
She has presented research findings at the Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) Conference in Sudbury and at the Waypoint Research Symposium.
She has advocated for enhanced funding, programming and services for LGBTQ2S people at all levels of government, specifically in heath care infrastructure. Her involvement with the OSMH LGBTQ2S Committee is invaluable and was instrumental in moving research for the Trans Community through the process, which led to the establishment of the Trans Health Hub at Couchiching Family Health Team.
Randy Davis recently accepted the position of Gay Men’s Sexual Health Coordinator with The Gilbert Centre and volunteers as the Pride Coordinator for the Prevention Access Campaign. Randy also sat on the board of Barrie Pride as its Healthy Living Coordinator. Randy has lived with HIV since being diagnosed on February 19, 2015.
As an activist and advocate for people living with HIV, Randy is a loud and proud supporter of the U=U message and movement. Sharing the stigma-smashing science that “HIV positive individuals who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load can’t transmit the virus sexually” has become a passion for Randy. Unafraid and unapologetic, Randy shares his lived experiences and his authentic self with all who wish to help in ending the shame and ignorance surrounding HIV/AIDS.
Randy has been a guest on several Rogers TV Barrie programs including The Pleasure Diva, Viewpoint, and With Gerry. He has also been twice interviewed on CTV Barrie and was a guest speaker at the Gilbert Centre’s World AIDS Day event in 2017. You can often find Randy speaking at Barrie Pride events and sharing information about HIV with attendees. Randy was most recently a guest speaker during Pride Toronto on a panel discussing Living and Thriving with HIV and spoke at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity’s GSA Leadership Forum in Toronto about Smashing The Stigma of HIV. Randy is slated to take part in a Community Forum during Fierté Capital Pride in Ottawa and he looks forward to many more opportunities to speak.
HIV is the virus. Stigma is the disease.
Steven Lewis was born and raised in Barrie, Ontario where he began volunteering while at St. Joseph’s High School doing his mandatory hours which led to a lifelong commitment and passion for improving his community.
As Chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law (SOGIC) Section of the Ontario Bar Association, Ontario’s largest association of lawyers, Steven is a leader in the legal community across Ontario. He has personally consulted on various pieces of legislation affecting the LGBT community including the All Families are Equal Act, has taken part in important court interventions including Trinity Western University, and helped usher through changes to policy. Steven also leads a contingent of lawyers and law students from across the province to march in the Toronto Pride parade, giving visibility to LGBT people in a typically conservative profession. This year, Steven was successful in getting specialty made Pride lawyer tabs approved by the Chief Justice of Ontario to be worn in the parade, and the Chief Justice himself even wore a paid for a photo with Steven. This is in addition to the regular education and networking events Steven puts on for LGBT lawyers including the first ever legal session on Two-Spirited people.
Steven also commits time to the LGBT community in the health sphere in many ways including his leadership on improving provincial cancer screening programs for trans people, his leadership on Boards and fund development committees for various LGBT groups including health centers, advocacy groups, and refugees, in addition to his advocacy on LGBT and disability rights. In addition he is a strong representative of the LGBT community and diversity issues dedicating significant time working with Independent Living and youth programs such as Camp OOCH and hockey school. He is a passionate leader in the community who truly believes in the importance of bringing your whole self to everything you do believing that diversity makes our community strong.
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The board will post updates, news and event details for Fierté Simcoe Pride.