Volunteer of the Year Award 2017-Gary Simpson

Every year, AU/SE honours individuals who strengthen and bless our movement in especially significant ways. In 2017, we honour two Albertans: Gary Simpson and Bryon Delarue. Council member Jen Carter-Morgan writes,

“It is a great delight to be able to introduce a wonderful man who is one of the faces of the Edmonton Pride Community – Gary Simpson.

Gary Simpson decked out in his usual Affirming splendour at the Edmonton Pride parade, 2017.

Gary and I first crossed paths at the start up gatherings of a group called Soul Outing, which is a queer worship community in Edmonton that we were both involved in and he still is. He is a dedicated and colourful participant in the Pride Week activities, from walking/riding with the United Church groups to volunteering at the festival afterwards, to staffing an information table.

He has also been involved in many educational and social justice events; these include Edmonton’s Hate to Hope rally where he was invited to share a prayer, and the vigil held to mark the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando. He has also been present at other social justice type events such as the anti- Islamophobia rallies, Trans Day of Remembrance events and many more.

Gary is an active member at McDougall United Church in downtown Edmonton, one of our Affirming ministries. Part of his involvement there is with a study group called Bible Queeries, where the participants read their way through the bible from a queer perspective. He has been involved in movie and discussion nights with lgbtq+ themes, book studies and much more.

Gary has also often gone down to Calgary to ride his fabulous rainbow-festooned bike in their Pride parade.

He is truly a colourful, delightful and passionate human being and I’m thrilled to see him being recognized for the work he has done and continues to do on behalf of the lgbtq+ community.”

— Jen Carter-Morgan, AUSE Council member, speaking at the 2017 AGM.