Judy Girard

In late 70’s, Judy Girard joined the Board of Directors of Gays of Ottawa, as one of the few women on the Board. Her primary role on the Board was to take the lead in negotiating with Revenue Canada, with the assistance of their lawyer, on the creation of one of the first registered gay charities in Canada, to house a number of services that GO had been providing for years (such as coming out groups, a telephone information line, a library etc.) in a separate organization. This lead to the creation of Pink Triangle Services in 1983.

Judy served as the President of PTS for about 6 years and then sat on the Board for approximately another 4-5 years. Her primary role with PTS was to oversee the fundraising campaign and our annual fundraising gala including recruiting canvassers, working with the caterer, doing public relations etc. This event occurred for at least 15 years and typically raised about $30,000 annually, covering the bulk of PTS’ expenses. The Gala typically attracted 300 people or more.

Judy also served as the Chair of the Training Committee and provided professional training programs for public officials, social and health care providers and government agencies on working with gay clients and colleagues. Achievements included regular sessions with CSIS (and these occurred only a few years after “the purge”); training every single member of the Ottawa Police Force; and many other agencies such as the Red Cross, Regional Health Department etc.

The Training Committee also prepared a manual entitled “For you, For us” which included articles on various topics of interest to service providers. Judy wrote the article, “Rights Gay People Don’t Have”, on the community's status in the ‘70’s and 80’s.

In addition to her work in community building and activism, Judy is also an avid swimmer, participating in the Gay Games in Vancouver in 1990 and winning a silver medal.

Judy remembers this period of intensive community work with the famous line in Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities: “'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

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