Stand Proud York Region: Featuring International Trans Activist Aydian Dowling

Pride at All-Time High at 4th Annual Stand Proud York Region Charity Gala

Featuring International Trans Activist Aydian Dowling

MARKHAM, ON – March 6, 2017 – On Friday, March 3, Pflag – the Regional Municipality of York’s LGBTQ support, resource and education network – hosted the much-anticipated 4th Annual Stand Proud York Region Charity Gala, presented by KPMG, at Crystal Fountain in Markham. With over 350 members of the LGBTQ community and its allies in attendance, pride in York Region was at an all-time high.

The Stand Proud York Region Charity Gala is the most colourful celebration of the year, directly benefiting the LGBTQ community. This year’s event paid tribute to the 49 victims of the largest mass shooting in American history in Orlando, at Pulse Nightclub last June. This pre-meditated and targeted attack on the LGBTQ community was a reminder that the fight for equality is far from over, and that Pflag’s services are integral now more than ever.

The gala also provided the opportunity for members of the LGBTQ community and its allies to celebrate sexual and gender diversity, while building a more inclusive, tolerant and bright future. Funds raised at this charity event will help Pflag continue to provide vital services to the community, and to be there for those in need when it seems no one else is.

Max Denley was the proud recipient of Pflag’s 2017 OUTstanding Achievement People’s Choice Award for his work with The Get REAL Movement. Through this initiative, Max shares his story of perseverance and self-discovery through mental illness and transition for the purpose of energizing LGBTQ youth and their allies to embrace their own stories.

International Guest of Honour and recipient of the 2017 Inspiration Award, Aydian Dowling, spoke about the importance of standing proud and how if we fight for our limitations, we become the owner of them. Aydian is a Female-to-Male (FTM) transgender activist from Long Island, New York and is most well known for documenting his own transition from female to male on YouTube as a way to voice his thoughts, fears, and successes; as well as offer a support mechanism for others looking to transition.  He was also the first trans male to be on the cover of Men’s Health magazine and continues to break down gender barriers around the world.


  • “The positive energy, love and pride that radiated from our community at the Stand Proud York Region Gala celebration was simply overwhelming,” said Pflag York Region President Amanda Knegje. “Pflag is honored to be able to provide an opportunity to celebrate diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity and expression; and we genuinely thank each and every individual who chose to stand proud with us.”
  • “There are three ingredients to standing proud,” said international guest of honour and trans activist Aydian Dowling. “First, you find your passion. Then, you find your purpose. And always remember, YOU ARE ENOUGH!”


Pflag is joined by a lineup of special guests to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the Region at the 4th annual gala!

L to R: Sofonda Cox, YouTube sensation; Amanda Knegje, Pflag York President; Aydian Dowling, Guest of Honour and trans activist; Michael Blackburn, Pflag York Vice President; Kim Wheatley, First Nations Performer; Steve Anthony, Event Emcee and Host CP24 Breakfast and Robyn De Cradle, Former Miss Gay Universe

All guests showed pride in their true colours at the wonderful event.
Download high-res versions of the photos:

For more pictures, check out #StandProudYR!


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Media inquiries / interview requests: or 416.816.2307

About Pflag Canada York Region:Pflag Canada York Region is a local registered charity dedicated to building a stronger and more accepting community and is there for those in need, when it seems like no one else is! Every day, our dedicated volunteers are contacted by frightened adolescents and by angry, confused or ashamed parents. The organisation supports, educates and provides resources to anyone with questions or concerns about sexual orientation or gender identity and works closely with other community organisations, elected officials and local businesses to celebrate the LGBTQ community’s diversity.

Original article found HERE.

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