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Defenders for Human Rights
Jeremy Dias

Jeremy Dias Gender and Sexual Diversity

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GRADE LEVELS = 5 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Four 60 minute class periods

Jeremy Dias is the founder of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (formerly Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative founded in 2002). The organization seeks to encourage tolerance in the classroom and the workplace through training and encouragement of initiatives, including the International Day of Pink. With the help of 15 staff members and 250 youth volunteers, the Centre engages 75,000 people a year.

Dias was born in Edmonton in 1983 and grew up there until moving to Sault Ste. Marie with his family. After coming out in high school, he began to be bullied and beaten. When the school didn’t allow him to arrange an LGBTQ social club, Dias took the Algoma District School Board to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Following a three-year battle, Dias won his case and received $5,000 from the school board.

Dias used the money to found the Jeremy Dias Scholarship, a scholarship for youth working to stop bullying, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination in their schools. Following the establishment of the scholarship, Dias received messages from youth across Canada expressing the need for more support. In 2005, at the age of 22, Dias established Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative, which in 2015 became the Canadian Centre of Gender and Sexual Diversity. Dias’s goal is to engage youth in dialogue about diversity, inclusion and respect.

In 2013, Dias received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his promotion of acceptance and inclusiveness between the heterosexual communities and communities of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.