Youth Awards

Winners 2017

Here are our winners for 2017!                        

a light brown skinned person is sitting on the ground; she has long hair and is wearing glasses and has a rainbow flag wrapped around her. The background has trees on both sides of her.

Outstanding Achievements in Queer Activism – Andrea Bermudez

Andrea Bermudez third year student at the University of Toronto studying History and Equity Studies who identifies as a queer Latinx woman. She is involved in several queer activist groups, including the largest at UofT, LGBTOUT, and most recently NewPRIDE, and the UofT Student’s Union as the LGBQ General Equity Director. Outside of campus, she is also a part of the Youth Advisory Committee for LGBTQ Youth at Planned Parenthood, and hopes to keep expanding her horizons to work towards equity with her community.

Outstanding Achievements in Trans Activism – Jalisa Luces-Mendes

Jalisa Luces-Mendes, a Black, queer, young non-binary female of colour, graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Commerce and majored in entrepreneurship. Soon after graduating, Jalisa started a business close to their heart, Toni Marlow clothing (TM). They set out to create underwear that allows every person to feel comfortable in their bodies and express their gender identity with pride. Their company’s brand, Toni Marlow, celebrates Diversity, Inclusivity, Visibility, and Representation. Jalisa refuses to compromise their values publically or privately and is quick to offer education to others in an accessible and patient manner, in regards to equity. Jalisa has acted as a role model and a courageous voice of Queer activism through their company products and various fashion show and media appearances including Vancouver Fashion Week, Fashion Art Toronto, CBC The National, Breakfast Television.

Outstanding Achievements in BIPOC Activism – RJ Jones

RJ Jones is Saulteaux-Cree originally from the plains who currently resides on Algonquin territory. They are a Two Spirit, Non-Binary and Queer multimedia artist and educator. RJ does work in sexual health and gender & sexuality.

Outstanding Achievements in Secondary Academic Environment – Nora Melody Williams

I’m a 15 year old Transgender Lesbian, from the six nations reservation, I help organize various events at my school in my schools GSA called Devils For Diversity, the biggest even being the Rainbow Ball, I’ve also helped organize the first official pride event on the reservation, which was a total success mind you, I’m always looking for new ways to help with people and have had a few various speaking occasions, the main one being at Willford Laurier. I’ve made a big impact within my community around the various LGBTQ+ youth at my reservation and in Brantford and Caledonia, I’ve never actually won something like this before and am extremely honoured to have received this.

Outstanding Achievements in Post-Secondary Academic Environment – Camryn Harlick

Camryn is a two-spirited, Haudenosaunee & Metis crownward student going into their 3rd year at Ryerson University. Camryn currently sits as the VP Equity making them the first ever elected Indigenous executive and the first trans executive in all 50 years of the Ryerson Student Unions existence. Camryn also sits as the Canadian Federation of Students Queer Constituency Co-Chair representing over 650,000 students Canada wide and is the co-founder of the Reproductive Justice Collective. Camryn is passionate about queering and revolution and unpacking settler colonialism in university administration.

Outstanding Achievements in Social and Health Services – Akia Munga

My name is Akia Munga and I am a 25 year old cisgender queer male. I currently work at Pieces to Pathways which is a queer harm reduction program facilitated at Breakaway Addiction Services. I also work for Parkdale Queen West Community Health Center as a harm reduction relief worker. Prior to this I worked at the Black Coalition for Aids Prevention and as an independent public speaker. My life used to be a lot different a couple years ago as I was homeless and struggling with addiction. I dedicate my time to shifting the way that people view folks who struggle with housing vulnerabilities, abuse, and being stigmatized by mainstream hetero-normative communities. I believe in the strength and power that folks who are queer and of color have, as well as developing a culture of compassion regarding our marginalized kin.

Outstanding Achievements in Arts and Culture – Cassandra Myers

Cassandra Myers is a queer, brown, femme youth spoken word artist, a sexual violence support worker and consent educator. Cass crushes the cis-het-patriarchy in one fist and uses the other to pet her plants.

Outstanding Achievements in Social Justice and Community Empowerment – Lyra Evans

Lyra is an activist, a student, and a community organizer. She is currently studying a double major in Chemistry & Politics at the University of Ottawa. Over the past few years she has volunteered at Planned Parenthood Ottawa, *Kind Community Center, the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, Project Acorn, Ottawa Dyke March, Etc. Youth and several other organizations in smaller capacities. She hates writing bios and prefers answering questions so if you’re curious feel free to connect with her directly.


Up and Coming – warner schaettgen

warner schaettgen is a 10 year old trans activist that transitioned publicly at the age of 6 in rural ottawa and catholic school. She has dedicated herself to changing our world. Most recently she stood before the senate of Canada with her family as witness during the Bill C16 debate. She spent hundreds of hours rallying senators and other members of parliament in order to get protection based on gender identity and gender expression added to the Canadian Human Rights Act. She has buddied other children who await being seen at CHEO. She has organized several fundraisers for LGBTQ charities. She champions a new project entitled Trans Encounter Project. She has spoken on panels, workshops and a number of events. She has also told her story in several documentaries, media outlets, Today’s Parent Magazine. She travels to various pride events across Canada Spreading her message. She speaks out, despite the adversity she has faced in hopes that she may help other gender non-conforming children be able to come forward and be free to live healthy and happy lives free of discrimination.