Mayor Tory will present St. Lawrence Neighbourhood resident and social-justice advocate Susan Gapka a Key to the City May 17, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The day will also be marked immediately after by the City of Toronto’s ceremony to raise the Rainbow and Transgender flags with PFLAG.
“Like many people across our city, my perspective on LGBTQ2S and other social issues has grown and developed because of Susan Gapka. She is the activist that every community needs and we are so very lucky to have her here in Toronto,” said Mayor Tory. “She has spent her life shining a light on the lived experience of some of our most vulnerable citizens and has brought about real and positive change for the LGBTQ2S community. Susan is a strong and compassionate voice for meaningful housing solutions, supporting people with mental illness, and articulates an inspiring vision for a City where everyone is provided with respect, dignity and opportunity. For her tireless and ongoing work, I am proud to present Susan with a Key to the City.”
Gapka is well known as an effective campaigner for social justice. The Mayor is presenting her with a Key to the City for her long and proud record of advocacy on issues related to affordable housing, education, mental health and the safety and inclusion of the LGBTQ2S community.
Gapka has served on the Toronto Trans Coalition Project and is founder and chair of the Trans Lobby Group. She has actively campaigned for changes and funding that support the rights of those in the Trans community and she successfully lobbied the provincial government to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression. Gapka was a Board member of Pride Toronto during World Pride 2014 and is a past Central Regional Director for Ontario of Fierté Canada Pride. She has been employed at The 519 since 2015 in the education department as an education and training facilitator. She was elected to CUPE Ontario Pink Triangle Committee in 2017 and, in January, she was appointed to the CUPE National Pink Triangle Committee.
Gapka has actively contributed to organizations such as Central Neighbourhood House, the 51 Division Community Liaison Police Committee, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Save Our Structures. She has served on the Toronto Local Advisory Committee and as the Toronto representative on the National Consumer Panel of the At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project, the Housing Component for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
On April 30, Gapka was announced as one of seven Key to the City recipients in 2018. The complete list is available at https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/awards-tributes/tributes/key-to-the-city/.
— Don Peat