2019 pride week

GRAND marshaL

We are pleased that we select Diane Doiron as our
2018 Pride Week Grand Marshal! River of Pride wishes to highlight her resilience and the resilience of all survivors of the LGBTQ2+ purge, a systemic prosecution and firing of LGBTQ2+ workers in the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and Federal Public Service, between the 1950s and the 1990s.

Diane Doiron was born in Pointe-Sapin, New Brunswick. She is the second youngest from an Acadian family of six where the money was scarce, but the love was abundant. She came out to her family at 18 years old and was instantly accepted as who she was and had no life skills to process what was about to happen to her in the navy. She was pushed out of the Canadian Armed Forces as part of the LGBTQ2+ Purge in 1987 for being a lesbian.

Soon after, she began her career in photojournalism. She has worked with the Chronicle Herald in Halifax, NS, the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton and finally, the National Post in Toronto as Assistant Photo Editor. Her photos and stories have appeared in newspapers such as The National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and The Canadian Press among others.

After a successful career, Diane returned to her hometown. Her passion for photography never ceases. Her thirst for learning and her curiosity also allowed her to undertake new projects such as organic gardening and beekeeping. She became the first female volunteer firefighter in Pointe-Sapin.

For more than 30 years, having been part of the LGBTQ2+ Military Purge in 1987, Diane felt so lonely, a life full of anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She carried shame because her country had not accepted her as a soldier. She kept the secret from her friends and her family. They had no idea what she had lived through and how it still affected her.

But in 2017, everything changed for Diane and others LGBTQ2+ Purge survivors when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized for the wrongs done by the Canadian Armed Forces and the government.

Today, Diane spends her time in Pointe-Sapin working in her garden, caring for her farm animals and the honeybees. After having finally received the proper treatments for her PTSD she is grateful for her story and struggle coming to light. She visits senior homes and hospitals as a volunteer with her therapy dog Una to make people smile. Diane often visits schools and community events to talk about her story.

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