International Grand Marshal
Bodybuilder, trans activist and New York vlogger Aydian Dowling made runner up in last year’s Men’s Health Ultimate Guy competition with more than 72,000 reader votes. The response was so overwhelming that the magazine issued a special collector’s edition that featured Aydian on the cover – a first for a trans man. While fundraising for his top surgery in 2011, Aydian founded Point 5cc, a stealth clothing company and the first of its kind designed to highlight trans commonalities and create a sense of pride. Through his company, Aydian developed the first binder exchange program operating internationally, and hosts annual trans surgery funds. Aydian hopes to inspire others to embrace his community’s journey to authenticity as he continues to fight for trans rights, inclusivity and visibility. Defining success as breaking barriers, Aydian has found confidence by becoming his true self. And that’s inspiring all of us.
The Prancing Elites
International Honoured Guests
The Prancing Elites, stars of the hit reality television series, “The Prancing Elites Project,” are a dance team based in Mobile, Alabama, comprised of five fierce and bold individuals. Team captain and founder Kentrell Collins, along with best friends Adrian Clemons, Kareem Davis, Jerel Maddox and Timothy Smith have fought to be accepted in the female-dominated dance culture of J-Setting. Having been excluded from competitions and banned from countless parades, The Prancing Elites have found other ways to showcase their talent: from dancing in the stands at college football games to performing on boat cruises. The group, which includes gender non-conforming members, wishes to empower the world by inspiring others to break boundaries and live their lives fully and openly.
Salah Bachir is a ferocious and fearless humanist who has been fighting for our rights for decades. An avid and engaged art collector, he is driven by a spirit of generosity, a commitment to upholding human rights and dedication to the Middle Eastern community, here and abroad.
President of Cineplex Media and publisher of the Cineplex movie magazines, Salah has served on numerous boards and committees to support the arts, children’s education and our community. The Lebanon Project, The 519 and the Canadian Federation for AIDS Research are just a few of the organizations that benefit from his passion, philanthropy and leadership. In recognition of his generosity and contributions to arts, he was recently awarded honorary doctorate degrees from three Canadian universities (York, Ryerson and the University of Alberta).
With his husband Jacob Yerex, Salah has sponsored and welcomed several Syrian refugee families to our community. A proud supporter and friend of Pride Toronto for many years, his Lebanese heritage is the inspiration for this year’s bold and fabulous Middle Eastern community showcase. This year, many queer refugees, along with Lebanese pop singer Hamed Sinno of Mashrou Leila, will experience their first Pride Parade on July 3. Salah looks forward to inviting them to join the parade.
Vivkek Shraya is one of Toronto’s trans community’s most acclaimed voices. This multimedia artist does it all, expressing her experiences and views as a trans woman of colour through music, performance, literature and film. From albums and poetry, to films and novels, Vivek is a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, a 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist, and a 2015 recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize Honour of Distinction. When she’s not writing as the Associate Editor of Heartbeats – a website featuring racilaized artists and stories – you can find her performing as one half of Too Attached. Together with her brother, the group has released albums ranging from acoustic folk-rock to electro synth-pop and performed internationally with Tegan & Sara and Dragonette.
Black Lives Matter - Toronto Coalition
Black Lives Matter – Toronto is the Canadian chapter of the movement created in 2012 to actively and globally resist the dehumanization of Black people. The Toronto chapter has made headlines calling for the elimination of carding, seeking justice for killings, both locally and globally, collecting race-based data and combatting anti-blackness by demonstrating that Black hair is beautiful and establishing #BLMTOTentCity this spring at the Toronto Police Headquarters. Black Lives Matter – Toronto is rebuilding the Black liberation movement and striving for Black validity. The group aims to highlight and challenge anti-blackness in our community while celebrating the beauty and ferociousness of Black queer, trans and gender diverse Torontonians.
Jordyn, age 26, has more than nine years’ experience facilitating equity and anti-oppression workshops and training. She is currently majoring in Equity Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto and focuses on implementing equity and anti-oppressive frameworks in everyday life and in political, sexual health and harm reduction programs. Jordyn was nominated for this title by Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a program designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto, and has been a youth ambassador for SOY HEAT (Human Rights Equity Access Team) since 2010. A dedicated leader in the youth community, Jordyn hopes to find a career that reflects and complements her journeys thus far.