Vancouver hosted the 2nd Equal Rights Coalition Conference at the 40th Anniversary of Vancouver Pride

Equal Rights Coalition Vancouver 2018 Conference

Canada hosted the international Equal Rights Coalition Global Conference from August 5-7 in Vancouver, the Dignity Network called on the government of Canada to transform its verbal commitments into concrete actions to strengthen human rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world.

Dean Nelson, CEO of Alpenglow Productions / had a rare opportunity to be at the table with some of Canada's leaders in LGBTI Rights highlighting the work in creating public performance opportunities in raising awareness of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland. Examples included the creation of Pride House at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the ongoing success of mentoring future host (nations) cities on LGBTI inclusion and sensitivity training. Mr. Gay World bringing gay men from around the world to share ideas and stories of what it is like to be gay and mentoring them to be leaders in their own communities while raising awareness of LGBTI issues at the host destination and abroad.  And also spoke on the power of Pride and the economics of Gay Tourism both at home and abroad as an important vehicle in raising awareness, opportunities for the various LGBT Nonprofits to raise funds and generate a positive economic impact to the local communities.



Doug Kerr – Founder and CEO of the Dignity Network shares with CTV News the importance of the work Civil Society Organizations do to help further LGBTQI awareness and inclusion both at home and abroad, but the Government of Canada needs to step up and provide more support.

Over the three day conference attended by 75 nations with a mix of government officials, civil servants, civil society organizations (CSOs), non government organizations (NGOs), and activists was a very moving experience. I was moved and inspired by the courageous work of our LGBTQI activists. Some putting their own lives at risk to make tomorrow safer and brighter for someone else. At one point Minister Freeland asked Sri Lanka Activist, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera the Executive Director of Equal Ground, “aren't you afraid?” and Rosanna responded… “I cannot think about that, we just need to move forward…”

CityTV's Breakfast Television Vancouver caught up with Cameroon Activist to get his thoughts on the conference, the work Canadians are doing and his visit to Vancouver.

After a marathon of meetings it is encouraging to see that the Canadian Government is slowly transitioning from consultation and talk to action.  At the close of the conference Randy Boissonnault, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada on LGBTQ2 Issues, addressed a crowd from 75 countries including member states, donors, and activists to announce a commitment from Canada to advance the rights of LGBTI people around the world through:

– C$1 million in new funding for LGBTI CSOs in conflict zones;
– A commitment to update the Voices at Risk guidelines to support human rights defenders;
– A meeting with CSOs on September 17, 2018 to identify mechanisms to address domestic and international LGBTI issues; and
– In the same meeting, the Canadian government will also address additional domestic and international needs of CSOs to continue their work to advance LGBTI rights.


“We asked Canada to commit new funding to support global LGBTI human rights work, to help open spaces to LGBTI refugees, to articulate the placement of LGBTI rights within Canada’s foreign policy, to update Canada’s guidelines on supporting human rights defenders, and to make a long-term commitment to the Equal Rights Coalition,” said Kimalhi Powell, Executive Director of Rainbow Railroad, a Dignity Network Steering Committee member. “We fully welcome the commitments that the Government of Canada has made here today and look forward to next steps.”

“In the coming months we are eager to see the real and urgently needed commitments from Canada begin to take shape. Today, our government affirmed for us that Canada is supportive of our work to advance LGBTI issues around the world and we look forward to further discussions,” said Doug Kerr, Dignity Network Steering Committee member. Read more here.