Congratulations to Kirby Johnson, Laurentian University

The first recipient of the Grant Halle Lambda Foundation Award at Laurentian is Kirby Johnson, a second year Masters student in the Human Kinetics program who focuses on sports, including media coverage. He was particularly interested in the impact of Russia’s antigay law on all the LGBT people who performed at, or attended, the Sochi Olympics. Kirby writes: “My research focuses on Canadian media representations of Article 6.21 of the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences (Russia’s anti-gay law). Using keyword searches, I collected all articles from The Globe and Mail and La Presse referring to Article 6.21, Vladimir Putin, LGBT, LGBT rights, etc. from the promulgation of Article 6.21 (June, 2013) until July 7, 2014. I have found that these Canadian media outlets gave adequate media coverage to Article 6.21, LGBT rights in Russia, and the situation in Russia following the introduction of the law, but The Globe and Mail and La Presse failed to discuss the implications on LGBT athletes, coaches, media members, or fans travelling to Sochi as Olympic Games guests.” His research demonstrates that there is still media silence about LGBT issues in sports, and this was particularly true of the two major dailies he studied in the Sochi case. Kirby, who is studying for his MHK under the supervision of Professor Barbara Ravel, completed his undergraduate degree in Physical and Health Education (2011) at Laurentian University as well as his Bachelor of Education (2012). He was recently hired by the York Region District School Board as an occasional teacher. In his spare time, he does play-by-play coverage of Laurentian’s basketball teams.

Kirby says he really appreciates winning the Lambda award and thanks the main benefactor, Grant Halle, an antiques dealer in the Sudbury area.  Mr. Halle decided he wanted to contribute to LGBT scholarship in this way, and make the research award available to any graduate and undergraduate students studying in either English or French in any Laurentian program. It’s Lambda’s first award in Northern Ontario. So far he has raised over $18,000 for the endowment, while other donors, including Laurentian staff, have chipped in with monthly and single donations.

We are still building the Grant Halle Lambda Award until it is worth at least $1000 each year, so please donate to this inspiring cause.  You can contribute through CanadaHelps or send us a cheque. You will find the link at the top of the home page.

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