Subscribe to our RSS feed

Popular News Stories

  • Fuck poz guys!
  • Tom Hanks in Philadelphia Changed my Life
  • Canadian AIDS Society’s AGM and PHA Forum in Ottawa: some scholarships for HIVers available
  • Semen goes viral – or does it?

Inspire Awards

Dec20

A night of achievement and inspiration

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 Written by // Brian Finch - Founder Categories // Community Events, Inspire Awards , Events, Events

December 14th, at the Courtyard Marriot in Toronto, the first Inspire Awards Presents a Lifetime of Achievement evening took place honouring three outstanding people in the LGBTQ community in the greater Toronto area.

A night of achievement and inspiration

Photograph: Etobicoke School for the Arts performers by On Q Photography for INSPIRE AWARDS.

I was very proud to have PositiveLite.com as a partner in the first Inspire Awards night back in the summer just before pride. With the popularity of the first awardsnight came the idea of honoring lifetime achievement.

One of this year's recipients was Boyd Kodak who has accomplished so much, not just in his work on trans and human rights issues, but also in the arts, film and performance. (Bob Leahy previously interviewed him for PositiveLite.com, and you can find that feature here.)

The second to be honoured, and in no order of ranking, was Michelle DuBarry, who has been doing drag since the days when it was illegal. In a documentary about the St. Charles Tavern, a local gay hangout in the early years, Michelle recounted how those entering on Halloween were pelted with eggs.

Jack Layton posthumously received the "honorary" lifetime achievement award, accepted by his two children Mike and Sarah. Jack Layton had been an early champion of same-sex marriage and equality stemming from his days as a Toronto City councillor.  He was one of the first politicians to attend Pride and was a regular at that event.

A highlight of the evening was host extraordinaire Mike Chalut of Proud FM, who kept the night moving along nicely, despite the odd technical difficulties.

Students from the Etobicoke School of arts, the same school that caught Lady Gaga's attention for their anti-bullying work, performed several amazing sets. I watched the performances and thought, "Wow, we've come such a long way." A group of young people performing at this kind of event 25 years ago would simply be unheard of.

Sofonda Cox paid tribute to Michelle DuBarry with her hot back-up dancers. Carrie Chesnut and Boyd Kodak performed an original composition.

Other highlights were the acceptance speeches, all of which could bring even the most stone-hearted of us to a place of mushy eyes. It was a night that was indeed quite special.

Kudos go to Antoine Elhashem, chair of the not-for-profit Inspired Awards Inc. board and all of those who worked hard to pull of a fun, classy and at times emotional night. It was a huge team effort. Also a big thank you to Xtra for featuring – on their cover –  the event, and to all those who worked so hard.

If there is one thing to say it's that the Inspire Awards crew know how to pull off a great event.

The following are two moments with Mike Layton, and Michelle DuBarry, filmed on the night of the awards show.

Arts and Entertainment Section

Activism Section

  • Bedding Andrew

    Bedding Andrew

    Bob Leahy in an extended conversation with Toronto neg guy Andrew Morrison-Gurza about life with a disability, sex on wheels, his film “Bedding Andrew” and what he shares with people living with HIV
  • A bridge to nowhere

    A bridge to nowhere

    Michael Yoder on the Denver Principles and how people living with HIV are doing in relation to GIPA/MIPA and their “nothing about us without us” sentiments.
  • Remembering Joan Rivers, fierce and early voice against AIDS

    Remembering Joan Rivers, fierce and early voice against AIDS

    From TheBody.com comes this tribute to Joan Rivers' work with the HIV community that goes way back. “In a community that is no stranger to grief, the death of an ally like Rivers is hard for many.”

Current Affairs Section

Events Section

  • Rob Ford comes in last

    Rob Ford comes in last

    In a PositiveLite.com exclusive, Bob Leahy reports on the pig race that saw Rob Ford come in last this past weekend – right in his own rural community – not once but twice. A sign of things to come, he hopes.
  • The Crescent continues

    The Crescent continues

    What do you do when you’re an AIDS Service Organization and your funding isn’t renewed. You carry on! Here’s more of our continued coverage of how an organization like the UK’s The Crescent is doing just that. Iain Murtagh reports.
  • Throwing cold water on things

    Throwing cold water on things

    Ken Monteith comments on the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the lessons we can learn from it about fundraising for HIV-related causes.

Features and Interviews Section

Health Section

International Section

  • Smoking and HIV

    Smoking and HIV

    A UK perspective on smoking and HIV and why, if you smoke, you should probably think about quitting, from GMFA
  • The bottom line

    The bottom line

    UNAIDS asks does the global HIV response understand anal sex?
  • Encouraging vaccine news

    Encouraging vaccine news

    From aidsmap.com, news of a vaccine that has managed to completely block infection with SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, in monkeys. This finding gives new hopes for the development of a vaccine which could prevent HIV infection.

Legal Section

Lifestyle Section

  • I am too dumb for a smartphone

    I am too dumb for a smartphone

    Wayne Bristow admits he didn’t read the fine print on his smartphone contract, and he made a bad purchase, but he likes the photographic capabilities it comes with
  • Sex in the City: Part I

    Sex in the City: Part I

    Guelph Ontario is a city of 120,000 people about 100 kilometers west of Toronto. What does the sex trade look like in small cities like this and what issues does it raise? Olivia Kijewski reports
  • The condom conundrum: what good are they anyway?

    The condom conundrum: what good are they anyway?

    Dave R: The accepted first line defence against HIV is the condom but are we being led to believe that it’s the only thing that will protect us? Just how efficient are condoms anyway, in the fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections?

Living with HIV Section

  • Is one pill a day best?

    Is one pill a day best?

    Aidsmap.com reports on research on the benefits of taking once-a-day Atripla vs three separate pills daily
  • LTR

    LTR

    The UK’s Alex Sparrowhawk on what five years with HIV means to him. “HIV wasn’t the long term relationship I was looking for in 2009, but I fail to see how it’s been anything other than a successful one.”
  • Houston, we have an HIV PR problem!

    Houston, we have an HIV PR problem!

    Dave R says HIV education is ripe for an overhaul. Relying on 30 year old information, we’re bombarded with the moralising that goes with it. No wonder stigma exists. Negative LGBT folks are often poz folks worst critics. Why?

Media Section

Opinion Pieces Section

  • Sex and HIV:  the tombstones and icebergs have left the bedroom

    Sex and HIV: the tombstones and icebergs have left the bedroom

    Changing times. From FS Magazine, an HIV-negative writer says “I don't take my being HIV-negative for granted but I also don’t allow a fear of HIV to stop me doing what I want to do.”
  • All-American Truvada family

    All-American Truvada family

    Another post from HIV Negative Spouses, a blog for HIV negative women that have HIV positive spouses and would like support around this issue comes this entry about the pros and cons of using Truvada as PrEP
  • LTR

    LTR

    The UK’s Alex Sparrowhawk on what five years with HIV means to him. “HIV wasn’t the long term relationship I was looking for in 2009, but I fail to see how it’s been anything other than a successful one.”

Population Specific Section

  • Sex and HIV:  the tombstones and icebergs have left the bedroom

    Sex and HIV: the tombstones and icebergs have left the bedroom

    Changing times. From FS Magazine, an HIV-negative writer says “I don't take my being HIV-negative for granted but I also don’t allow a fear of HIV to stop me doing what I want to do.”
  • All-American Truvada family

    All-American Truvada family

    Another post from HIV Negative Spouses, a blog for HIV negative women that have HIV positive spouses and would like support around this issue comes this entry about the pros and cons of using Truvada as PrEP
  • LTR

    LTR

    The UK’s Alex Sparrowhawk on what five years with HIV means to him. “HIV wasn’t the long term relationship I was looking for in 2009, but I fail to see how it’s been anything other than a successful one.”

Sex and Sexuality Section

  • All-American Truvada family

    All-American Truvada family

    Another post from HIV Negative Spouses, a blog for HIV negative women that have HIV positive spouses and would like support around this issue comes this entry about the pros and cons of using Truvada as PrEP
  • Bedding Andrew

    Bedding Andrew

    Bob Leahy in an extended conversation with Toronto neg guy Andrew Morrison-Gurza about life with a disability, sex on wheels, his film “Bedding Andrew” and what he shares with people living with HIV
  • The bottom line

    The bottom line

    UNAIDS asks does the global HIV response understand anal sex?

MarketPlace