(February 23, 1966 - living) New Zealand - Canada
Professor, speaker, lawyer, activist
John was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He holds the degrees of B.A., LL.B. (Hons) (Auck.) and LL.M. (Queen's), where he wrote his thesis on lesbian and gay rights under international law. He also teaches a course at the University of Ottawa on Lesbian and Gay Legal Issues, and a course at the University of Carleton on Lesbian and Gay Issues under the Canadian Charter of Rights.
John is a former (1995 - 2003) Executive Director of EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere). In his work with EGALE, he has travelled by plane, train, bus and car to every province and territory of Canada to build a national action presence for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. John has testified before numerous Parliamentary and Senate Committees, most recently before the House of Commons and Senate on Bill C-23, the federal omnibus legislation to recognize same-sex relationships.
John has been called by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to testify as a witness on same-sex equality rights, and has co-presented on lesbian and gay issues at education workshops organized by the National Judicial Institute for Ontario Court judges. He has presented at numerous workshops and conferences on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered equality rights.
He was Grand Marshall of the Toronto Pride Parade in 1998 and has represented EGALE at a number of international human rights conferences, including speaking before the plenary assembly of the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna. He was presented with a "Heroes Award" by the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto in 1996, was named "Gay Activist of the Year" by Capital Xtra in 2000.
He is currently (Nov 2005) in the process of moving to Geneva to lobby the United Nation Commission on Human Rights as co-director of ARC (Allied Rainbow Communities) International, an organization he founded 2 years ago. ARC has created a coalition of gay activists from around the world, more than 200 strong, to work together for the rights of LGBT people everywhere.
"The power to make a difference lies in no-one's hands but our own. The time has come for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people to take our place in Canadian society, fully recognized as the equals we are."
Source: Photo by Shawn Scallen