Michelle Blais is the recipient of the Ontario Federation of Labour 2019 Solidarity and Pride Activist Award.
A secondary school teacher with the OECTA Toronto Secondary Unit, Michelle has been a trailblazer for 2SLGBTQI+ issues and rights, both within her organization and the broader community.
“I stand before you as an out and proud catholic school teacher,” said Blais. I receive this award in solidarity with all the courageous LGBTQ educators and union activists that came before me.”
Refusing to keep her 2SLGBTQI+ identity under wraps, Blais has been an “out” member of our OECTA for years, paving the way for other members to find the comfort and confidence to do the same.
Blais has challenged her Association to acknowledge and begin to address 2SLGBTQI+ issues, promoted 2SLGBTQI+ education, pride and Gay Straight Alliances for Catholic teachers and students alike.
She is one of the founding members of OECTA’s LGBTQ caucus, which meets annually when OECTA members from across the province come together for their Annual General Meeting in March of each year.
Blais proposed OECTA Provincial’s first involvement in World Pride and has led her local unit’s participation in pride events for years. She is also the driving force behind the formation of OECTA’s very own LGBTQ work group.
The Solidarity and Pride Activist Award acknowledges and celebrate individuals or groups who have made a significant or ongoing contribution to the advancement of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex plus (2SLGBTQI+) human rights, equity and inclusion, who are leaders in advancing equality and quality of life for 2SLGBTQI+ people in workplaces, community and globally.