ALEX Sangha announced this week that he will be receiving the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) from the Governor General of Canada for founding Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society.
In a statement, Sangha said: “I am happy to receive this honour that recognizes a deed or an activity that has been performed in a highly professional manner, or according to a very high standard: often innovative, this deed or activity sets an example for others to follow, improves the quality of life of a community and brings benefit or honour to Canada.
“Sher Vancouver has always been a collective effort over the last 10 years and I would like to acknowledge a number of people.
“I would like to thank members of the Sher Vancouver Board of Directors – Ash Brar, Josh Soronow, Kayden Bhangu, and Alvaro Garcia, as well as our many supporters, members, and volunteers.
“I would like to thank Charan Gill who is the Founder of the Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society and who supported Sher Vancouver since its onset.
“I would also like to thank Pall Singh Beesla for inviting Sher to the Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade in 2017.
“I would like to dedicate this medal to my mother, Jaspal Kaur Sangha, who raised me and my two brothers largely as a single parent.
“Most importantly, I am hoping this recognition will provide me with a platform to continue to advocate for LGBTQ people around the world who are victims of abuse, discrimination, oppression, and even torture and death.
“LGBTQ people are very vulnerable as sexual and gender minorities. Despite our contributions to humanity throughout history, LGBTQ people are still at-risk of being targeted and rejected and shamed for being who they are. They are essentially persecuted for being true to themselves and living a life that is natural to them.
“Someone once said a society is judged by how it treats its most marginalized members. Many of us are different and unique in some way. We all need to stick together and support each other and defend ourselves from the forces of ignorance, fear, and hatred.
“Let us all celebrate the diversity and differences that make up our communities and country.
“Thank you to the Governor General for this recognition and God bless Canada and fellow Canadians for the opportunities you have provided me and my family.”
Sangha is a Registered Clinical Social Worker and Registered Clinical Counsellor.