BOLDFest - Bold Old(er) Lesbians and Dykes, Vancouver, BC

Friday September 6, 2013  1:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Does God Love Lesbians?

An interfaith dialogue about
religion, spirituality, and lesbian identity.

Some argue that one of the biggest questions facing contemporary lesbians feminists lies at the intersection of faith and individual rights and freedoms, as fundamentalists of all kinds cling to doctrines that oppress and harm women. At the same time, there are feminists of all faiths who have reconciled their religious or cultural backgrounds with feminist and other forms of activism, and even more than that, who continue to find their cultural and religious backgrounds to be highly important aspects of their lives.

In this panel we draw together five women (one more TBA) who define as lesbian/feminist and activist and also adhere to their cultural/ spiritual identities. 


Writer and Film Director Aerlyn Weissman’s work began in 1988. Her first feature film, A Winter Tan, was described by Jay Scott as "unlike any Canadian film you've ever seen." Made in collaboration with four colleagues, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Actress and Best Sound at the 1989 Genies. 

Aerlyn has won two Genie awards and created films which have been screened around the world, on topics ranging from forensic archaeology and digital technologies to censorship and social software. She has participated in many industry panels and academic symposiums and has been a mentor at the Gulf Islands Film and Video School on Galiano Island. In 1996 she received the Vancouver Women in Film and Television award for Woman of the Year.

Aerlyn was co-director of Forbidden Love, a film on popular culture and the lives of Canadian lesbians in the 1950's, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Variety noted, "this well crafted documentary blends a savvy mixture of fiction and fact." Released theatrically in Canada, Britain, and the United States, it has been broadcast on CBC, PBS, and the BBC. The film received many audience and technical awards at international festivals, and won the Genie for Best Feature Length Documentary of 1993. Her next film, Fiction and Other Truths: A Film About Jane Rule, a profile of that West Coast writer, received a Genie in 1995. From 1995 to 1996 Aerlyn co-produced and directed, DoubleTake: Women in Media, a 13-part series for television, on the politics of women's representation in the media.


FATIMA JAFFER is a PhD student at the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program (ISGP) at the University of British Columbia, where she also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Cutting Edge, the peer-reviewed journal of ISGP. She holds an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and a BA in English Literature from McGill University.

Her research dissertation is on alternative media in social movements. Her critical theoretical perspective focuses on rethinking the role of media in global social movements; examining media both a site of knowledge production and dissemination as well as its role in informing and fostering a shared sense of community that informs the development of movements for social change, in particular, feminist and queer movements.

A longtime activist and journalist in several countries, she is a former editor of Kinesis, Canada’s national feminist newspaper, writes guest columns for Xtra-West, Vancouver queer newspaper and facilitates Trikone Vancouver, a South Asian queer group in BC.

Fatima sits on the Advisory Board of UBC’s RAGA Centre (Race, Autobiography, Gender and Age). She is a co-coordinator of the Global Queer Research Group at the Liu Institute for Global Issues. She is a GSA for the Post/Colonial, Critical Race and Feminist Group, also at the Liu Institute.

DR. VALERIE MASON-JOHN entered the Triratna Buddhist Order in India 2005 and was named VIMALASARA. A disciple of the venerable Sangharakshita she has been on the buddhist path for 23 years, and teaching meditation for 15 years. Chairperson of the Vancouver Buddhist Centre, she has pioneered Recovery Mondays dharma and meditation for people in recovery from all types of addiction.

Author of seven books, her dharma books include Broken Voices ex untouchable women speak out, Detox Your Heart Working with anger fear and hatred, published as an e book on Amazon this year, and in 2014 her next book will be published, Eight step Recovery Using the Buddhas Teachings to overcome addiction. She works as a life coach and trainer in restorative justice, conflict transformation, anti bullying and leadership and lives on the Sunshine Coast.

Dr Valerie Mason-John Aka Queenie
Professional Life Coach - Certified Coaches Federation

BON FABIAN is of the Metis nation from Winnipeg Manitoba; her people are Blackfoot, Cree, Dakota, Ojibwa, French and Slovenian. She is two spirit and identifies as female/butch. Bonnie is a pipe carrier and healer  who has participated in a womens’  Buffalo Sundance, known as Kunsi Keya, in Vermont, USA, for the past twenty-four years; as a Sundancer, for sixteen years. She has led sweatlodges at Kunsi Keya for fourteen years and locally, for the past five years and is actively involved in local native spiritual ceremonies. 

Bonnie represented female two spirits in the Downtown Eastside Smudge Ceremony 2010, and was asked to participate in this last Mayan calendar 2013 Solstice ceremony, in which she led one of the thirty-three sweatlodges and was among sixteen pipe carriers who lifted the pipe for prayers in unison. As a peer, she supports local Sundancers of all genders and she follows the Lakota way. Bonnie works her activism in prayer for all, during Sundances and sweatlodoges.

KERRI MESSNER is a minister with Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination founded in the l/g/b/t/q community, and has worked pastorally in Vancouver, New York City, London, and Edinburgh. 

Kerri is currently a doctoral candidate and Liu Scholar in the Centre for Cross Faculty Inquiry in Education at the University of British Columbia, where she is researching the applications of performative autoethnography, queer theology, and anti-oppressive education in addressing religiously rooted anti-queer violence.

 BOLD, a non-profit society registered in the Province of British Columbia Canada, has as its mission to raise the visibility of older lesbians, and to provide a venue to meet and to share information and opportunities for learning, networking, and organizing. For the last eight years, BOLDFest - the Bold Old(er) Lesbians & Dykes Conference -  has attracted lesbians aged 45+ -  as well as younger women - from across Canada, the US and even Australia!

We convene at the Coast Plaza Hotel each year, on the weekend after Labour Day weekend. The Coast Plaza is a friendly and gay-friendly hotel in the heart of Vancouver's gay West End, with stunning views of the mountains and Pacific Ocean.

We are delighted to have Olivia Travel as our major sponsor once again at BOLDFest 2013!  Thank you Olivia!!
Vancouver BC Lesbian & Dyke Conference
BOLDFest 2012 Bold, Old(er) Lesbians & Dykes
PO Box 21510, 1424 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC V5L 5G2 Canada
Tel: 604-253-7189 - Email

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