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article imageSharon Gless given Toronto PFLAG Ally Award in Toronto Special

By KJ Mullins     Apr 15, 2013 in World
Toronto - On Monday night Sharon Gless talked about being approached by a young man while leaving the movies when she was working on the show Queer as Folk in Toronto years ago. The man asked for a hug.
As they embraced the man broke down in heart wrenching sobs and Sharon held him tight.
That powerful moment was as fresh tonight as it was that day for the actress who was presented a PFLAG Ally Award at Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre.
The event hosted by TV and Radio Personality Mike Chalut also included musical performances by John Alcorn as well as Danielle Wade and Lisa Horner from Mirvish’s the Wizard of Oz. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair also gave his support saying that he has proud for the LGBTQ members of his police family.
During the early 2000's the show Queer as Folk ran on Showcase in Canada. Filmed in Toronto, one of the main characters was Sharon Gless. Gless played a PFLAG mother who loved her son deeply.
For many it was the first time that anyone had heard of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
“I learned so much on Queer as Folk… with as much fun as you all have, you are still fighting uphill battles,” said Gless.
Rosie O Donnell and Sharon Gless
Rosie O'Donnell and Sharon Gless
The show made an impact for many. One of those was Gless's friend Rosie O'Donnell who spoke about her friend at Monday's event. Saying that Gless was her first television crush, a crush that has yet to go away, O'Donnell talked about the very human side of Gless. Her Florida neighbour who flew across the country to be with her when Rosie's wife was hospitalized last year for several weeks. She spoke about how Gless showers those around her with love.
Irene Miller, President of Toronto's PFLAG chapter, also spoke about how Gless is a strong ally for the LGBTQ community while presenting her with this year's award.
Dr. Cheri DiNovo (NDP  Parkdale-High Park)  Christine Elliott (Progressive Conservative  Whitby-Osha...
Dr. Cheri DiNovo (NDP, Parkdale-High Park), Christine Elliott (Progressive Conservative, Whitby-Oshawa), and Hon. Yasir Naqvi (Liberal, Ottawa Centre
Dr. Cheri DiNovo (NDP, Parkdale-High Park), Christine Elliott (Progressive Conservative, Whitby-Oshawa), and Hon. Yasir Naqvi (Liberal, Ottawa Centre) were also given PFLAG Ally Awards Monday for their work on Toby's Act. In 2012 Ontario Legislature passed the act that amended the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression. Ontario is the first major jurisdiction in North America to give transgendered people human rights protection.
DiNovo said prior to the award Monday that she married the first same sex couple in Canada, although the laws had not yet passed at the time. In a simple ceremony she married two woman in Thunder Bay. The union stood up DiNovo said proudly and was recognized by Ontario. DiNovo is a not only a politician but has been a minister since 1992. She introduced Toby's Act at Queen's Park in 2007. Named for Toby Dancer, a member of Cheri's church who sadly died of a drug overdose.
“Toronto PFLAG families and supporters are honouring Allies who have served our community by their caring and commitment to ensuring others’ rights, and by being inspirational and positive role models,” said Toronto PFLAG President, Irene Miller. “Each of this year’s four recipients are perfect examples, so we are thrilled to honour them with our Ally-award.”
Last year's honoured award winner Brian Burke also spoke Monday night about the good work that PFLAG does and of being a proud PFLAG father. He took time before the event to visit with Moose, the horse he gave Toronto Police's Mounted Unit.
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