BOLD WOMAN AWARD HERSTORY
The Annual BOLD Woman Award of the Year was founded by BOLD's co-producer Claire Robson in 2010, 5 years after BOLDFest started. The award was created to recognize the achievements of old and older lesbians and dykes who have moved us, changed us, who have made a difference to lesbian lives in North America. We so appreciate the work, dedication and commitment of these women. They, and many others, are the reason lesbian community and lesbian herstory lives on.
2010 The 1st BOLD WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
CHRIS MORRISSEY, Vancouver BC.
Chris wears many hats. She was the first coordinator of Generations, a project of Qmunity (Vancouver's LGBTQ community centre) dedicated to the needs and issues of older LGBTQ people. Almost ten years ago, the Vancouver Park Board and QMUNITY Generations founded Quirk-e - the Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders, at the 411 Community Centre on Dunsmuir. The group is still going strong, now with the vital support of Britannia Community Services Centre and funding from the City of Vancouver. Claire has been mentor and inspiration as well as artist-in-residence since the birth of Quirk–e. Under her direction, the group has made many appearances in the city, recently in collaboration with queer youth.
Chris co-founded the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Task Force (LEGIT, legit.ca) which successfully lobbied the federal government to reform immigration sponsorship rules to allow Canadian gays and lesbians to sponsor their same-sex partners. Until then, same-sex partners were not recognized as family. Through these efforts she was able to get her partner of many years, Bridget, an Irish citizen to stay in Canada. They met when they were both nuns,
As well, Cris was instrumental in starting a refugee sponsorship campaign called Vancouver Circle of Hope, which works with the Rainbow Refugee Committee to encourage local community groups and individuals to join together and group-sponsor queer refugee claimants. Chris is still going strong, working tirelessly on the Rainbow Refugee Committee and serves on both the Seniors Advisory Committee to (Vancouver) City Council and an LGBTQ Elder sub-committee of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee to City Council.
In 2012 Chris won the Queen's Jubilee Award for "spending a lifetime helping others".
2011 ELLEN WOODSWORTH,Vancouver BC
Former Vancouver City Councillor with COPE, Ellen has been an out lesbian feminist activist since 1970, working for social justice and economic equality for all. She has served on many boards including BC Chair of the Action Canada Network, Chair of Bridge Housing Society for Women, co-founder of Breaking the Silence Against Violence; she helped set up the first city LGBTQ Advisory Committee to City Council, Women Transforming Cities and organized many forums and rallies against homophobia and transphobia. To learn more about Ellen's live, accomplishments and continuing work, visit her website at www.ellenwoodsworth.com
Of worthy mention, Ellen played soccer in the first Gay Games in San Francisco!
2012 ARDEN EVERSMEYER, Houston TX
Arden is the Director and driving force behind the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (www.olohp.org) an ambitious project like no other, which by 2016 has captured the lives and stories of old lesbians throughout North America, ages 62 through 85; these stories are now being archived in Smith College, Northampton MA. Arden conducted almost every one of the 1st 100 interviews. Now with help of other interviewers, there are over 500 interviews/stories representing 38 states, plus a few women living in Canada, Japan, Australia and Costa Rica.
When she isn't working on OLOHP, Arden is very active in the lesbian community in her hometown of Houston, working with LOAF, Lesbians over Age Fifty. Life is not idle for Arden which includes spending quality time with her wife Charlotte. they married in California before the passage of Proposition 8, after deciding they had tested the relationship after a 20 year engagement!
2013 MEG TORWL, Aotearoa/New Zealand/Canada
Meg, a native of Aotearoa/New Zealand, worked in video, new media, audio, photography, writing, performance and arts advocacy. Her work was often with communities pushed to the fringes by mainstream society – First Nations, refugees, women, lesbian and gay, people with disability, elders, marine environments. She produced 5 new media projects – meditative colour and water photography based installations: Singing Bowls (2004), AQWAI (2006), TIARIKA (2008), Going Coastal (2010), and PORTAL/PORTAGE (2011), and directed three documentaries distributed by Video Out: Act Your Age!? (2000)*, where have all the lesbians gone? (2001), and Towards the day…we are all free (2007). Meg also produced 50 half-hour radio programs with Radio New Zealand National’s One in Five disability community program (2007/8), with a focus on youth, art, multiculturalism and policy. She worked for arts organizations in community outreach and project coordination for the National Film Board of Canada (2004), CBC TV (2006), KickstArt Disability Arts and Culture (2009/10), and BC Regional Integrated Arts Network (2010). Meg was a visual artist, a graduate of The Writers Studio (2011) at SFU, and published numerous books of poetry.
Meg was a supporter of BOLDFest, a place her partner Adrienne loved to be at each year. Meg's award was given posthumously to Adrienne in 2013 shortly after Meg died.
*Act Your Age": 10 women aged 16 to 80 talk candidly about age, ageing, ageism, beauty, disability, friends, lovers.
2014 Margy Lesher of the Lesbian Connection, E. Lansing MI
The Lesbian Connection is the longest-running worldwide magazine for lesbians. In 2014 LC celebrated 40 years of connecting, informing, being the lifeline for thousands of lesbians all over the world. It truly has made the difference to many lives, in so many ways.
Margy Lesher was a co-founder of this historic lesbian institution and she is still going strong, along with co-workers, organizing, putting together and publishing this bi-monthly magazine. To learn more about an important link to LC and Lesbian Herstory, and to subscribe, click here.
To view the BOLD Woman of the Year award to Margy, and some funny moment with lesbian comic Diane Kuch, go to http://www.lconline.org/about/lc-cats/
2014 PAT HOGAN, Vancouver BC
A 2nd - and surprise - BOLD Woman Award! in 2014 went to Pat Hogan, founder and co-producer of BOLDFest.
Pat, born and raised in eastern US, came to Canada in 1969 and soon thereafter housed US draft resistors. Pat authored, organized and coordinated several feminist organizations and projects in the mid-70s in the Okanagan (BC). These included DAWN, Direct Action for Women in Need, co-founder of the Vernon Transition House, organized the 1st Conference on Family Violence in rural BC following Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon's landmark convention in Vancouver, founded the Okanagan Women's Coalition. Trained with Sharon Kahn at UBC in Assertiveness Training , co-facilitated assertiveness classes in Langara's women's studies program.
Other adventures include: WomanVision programmer, Co-op Radio. In this capacity, Pat and Rosemary Allenbach (CBC producer) produced a 3-hour documentary on The Persons Case, when women were legally declared persons in Canada. Co-founded and still runs Sounds & Furies, a production company primarily featuring women/lesbian performers, writers, workshop leaders. Opened Josephine's Cafe, a well known lesbian+ Vancouver eastside cafe. Started up BC Witchcamp in 1987, giving birth to a movement of Reclaiming Witchcamps and communities worldwide. Founded Sappho Lesbian Witchcamp.Worked at the Vancouver Women's Health Collective.Organizes same-sex ballroom dance classes, competed in Gay Games Dancesport in Amsterdam and Australia, and Outsports in Montreal. Pat continues doing work in the lesbian and LGBTQ community, is committed to keeping strong connections with friends and family, and, travels whenever possible.
2015 LIBBY DAVIES, MP, VANCOUVER EAST
Libby Davies is a politician, a tireless worker for the marginalized, the poor, women, seniors, the LGBTQ community and much more. Libby was elected to Vancouver City Council in1982 and re-elected for 3 more terms, 12 years total. She ran for Mayor of Vancouver in 1993, was defeated, participated in several grass-roots political organizations, specifically in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside area. She dropped out of university to help her husband Bruce Eriksen found the Downtwon Eastside Residents Assoc., an influential low-income housing advocacy group. Libby was first elected to Parliament (Federal) in 1997 and re-elected for 5 more terms, a total of 20 years, retiring in 2015. She is the first female Canadian Member of Parliament to reveal she was in a same-sex relationship. She declined to stand as candidate for leadership of the NDP in 2012, citing her inability to speak French as a factor. Libby continues her involvement in the many communities and issues that are near and dear to her.
2016 JANINE FULLER, VANCOUVER BC
Janine Fuller is best known for her role as an anti-censorship activist with Canada Customs, which culminated in the Supreme Court of Canada case Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada (Minister of Justice).
In 1990 Little Sisters had just begun their now-famous challenge to Canada Custom's censorship of gay and lesbian books and magazines. Janine took on the daunting task of raising both public consciousness about the case and the money to fund it. She travelled coast to coast in Canada and the U.S., talking about her experience as a bookseller and a reader grappling with Custom's arbitrary and homophobic censorship. She rallied Canadian and international writers, readers and booksellers to the cause, pushing and cajoling when necessary, but most often showing the way by her enthusiasm and commitment.
To an extent larger than most people recognize, the successful outcome of this litigation was due to Janine Fuller.
Janine began advocating for gender equality at a young age. She remembers being a Grade 6 student in Toronto and the school principal telling her no, she couldn't form a girls soccer team. Soccer was for boys. Teams were for boys. She won that first battle, and knows just how hard won every right and freedom is.
Although the activism she sees today might not be as loud, it's no less proud.
Janine co-authored a book about the Canadian Customs case entitled “Restricted Entry”; as well she wrote an introduction for Forbidden Passages: Writings Banned in Canada, an anthology of excerpts from some of the impounded works which was edited by Patrick Califia.
Both Restricted Entry and Forbidden Passages won Lammies at the 8th Lambda Literary Awards in 1996, Forbidden Passages in the "Editor's Choice" category and Restricted Entry in the "Publisher's Service" category.
Janine has also written a number of plays, and has worked as a performance artist.
Following a diagnosis with Huntington's disease in the late 2000s, Fuller has also become an activist and speaker on issues relating to the condition.
In honour of her role as a significant contributor to LGBTQ culture and history in Canada, Janine has been inducted into both the Q Hall of Fame Canada[ and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives' National Portrait Collection. She was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by Simon Fraser University in 2004,[ the inaugural Reg Robson Award from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in 1997, the Freedom to Read Award from the Writers' Union of Canada in 2002, as well as awards from numerous women's and LGBTQ organizations.
"There are always going to be a number of people that are active in any community and that care. There are a ton of incredible queer youth doing amazing amounts to advance women's and queer issues. It's an evolving DNA." Janine Fuller