Media Releases

U of T to give awards for sexual diversity promotion

September 14, 2011

TORONTO, ON — The Mark S. Bon­ham Cen­tre for Sex­u­al Diver­si­ty Stud­ies, locat­ed at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, is pleased to announce the recip­i­ents of its 2011 Bon­ham Cen­tre Awards: Lin­da Schuyler, co-cre­ator and pro­duc­er of the Degras­si tele­vi­sion series, and Dustin Lance Black, Acad­e­my Award-win­ning screen­writer for the 2008 movie Milk.

The awards will be pre­sent­ed at a recep­tion to be held on Sep­tem­ber 27th, 2011, at Croft Chap­ter House, Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege, 15 Kings Col­lege Cir­cle, Toron­to, at 4:30 p.m.

The Bon­ham Cen­tre Award (for­mer­ly the Cit­i­zen­ship Award) was estab­lished by the Bon­ham Cen­tre in 2007 to rec­og­nize an indi­vid­ual or group that has made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the advance­ment of issues sur­round­ing sex­u­al edu­ca­tion.  Past award recip­i­ents have includ­ed film­mak­er John Greyson, lawyer Bar­bara Find­lay, the Cana­di­an Union of Pub­lic Employ­ees (CUPE), and renowned sex­u­al edu­ca­tor and coun­sel­lor Sue Johan­son.

“Lin­da Schuyler and Dustin Lance Black cap­ture the very essence of the Bon­ham Cen­tre Award. Their vision­ary cul­tur­al works have cre­at­ed broad­er per­spec­tives around issues of sex, sex­u­al­i­ty and sex­u­al diver­si­ty in the pub­lic sphere,” says Bren­da Coss­man, Direc­tor of the Bon­ham Cen­tre.

Lin­da Schuyler, who is a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and began her career as a teacher,  is best known for co-cre­at­ing and exec­u­tive pro­duc­ing the mul­ti-award win­ning Degras­si tele­vi­sion fran­chise, com­prised of The Kids of Degras­si Street, Degras­si Junior High, Degras­si High, School’s Out, Degras­si Talks and Degras­si: The Next Gen­er­a­tion, now known sim­ply as Degras­si. This fran­chise has won 20 Gem­i­ni Awards, two Inter­na­tion­al Emmys, two Prix Jeuness­es, two Teen Choice Awards, the Crit­ics’ Choice Award and count­less oth­er inter­na­tion­al hon­ours. The Degras­si series has from its incep­tion por­trayed teen life in a diver­si­fied and inclu­sive con­text with many sto­ry­lines that chal­lenged and edu­cat­ed its audi­ence around issues of sex­u­al diver­si­ty and iden­ti­ty, and tack­led such dif­fi­cult issues as domes­tic vio­lence, teen preg­nan­cy, pedophil­ia, adop­tion, reli­gion, divorce, bul­ly­ing, drug use, sui­cide, sex­u­al assault, abor­tion, and men­tal health.  Lin­da has received numer­ous per­son­al recog­ni­tions for her accom­plish­ments, includ­ing the Acad­e­my Achieve­ment Award at 2010’s Gem­i­ni Awards, the 2006 CTV Inter­na­tion­al Achieve­ment Award, and in 1994, in recog­ni­tion of her con­tri­bu­tion to Cana­di­an tele­vi­sion pro­gram­ming, Schuyler was appoint­ed a Mem­ber of the Order of Cana­da.

Dustin Lance Black is an Amer­i­can screen­writer, direc­tor, film and tele­vi­sion pro­duc­er, and LGBT rights activist. In 2000, he wrote and direct­ed The Jour­ney of Jared Price, a gay romance film, and Some­thing Close to Heav­en, a gay com­ing-of-age short film. In 2001, he direct­ed and was a sub­ject in the doc­u­men­tary On the Bus about a road trip and adven­ture tak­en by six gay men. Raised as Mor­mon, he was hired as the only such writer on the HBO dra­ma series Big Love about a polyg­a­mist fam­i­ly.  Dustin has been active in speak­ing out about dis­crim­i­na­tion in the Mor­mon Church and mak­ing it more LGBT-inclu­sive.  Hav­ing wit­nessed the AIDS cri­sis in the ear­ly 1990s, Dustin felt com­pelled to write a movie screen­play based on the life of San Fran­cis­co city coun­cil­lor Har­vey Milk, an effort that result­ed in his Acad­e­my Award for Best Orig­i­nal Screen­play in the 2008 movie Milk.  In all of these and many oth­er endeav­ours, Dustin Lance Black has excelled at edu­cat­ing and inspir­ing a young gen­er­a­tion to become activists in a grass­roots way around issues of sex­u­al diver­si­ty.  He has received much per­son­al recog­ni­tion for his out­stand­ing achieve­ments, includ­ing the Writ­ers Guild of America’s Paul Sel­win Civ­il Rights Award in 2009 to the mem­ber whose script best embod­ies the spir­it of con­sti­tu­tion­al and civ­il rights and lib­er­ties.

The Mark S. Bon­ham Cen­tre for Sex­u­al Diver­si­ty Stud­ies (SDS) at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to offers an under­grad­u­ate pro­gram and a col­lab­o­ra­tive grad­u­ate pro­gram (M.A. and Ph.D.), hosts aca­d­e­m­ic and com­mu­ni­ty events, and pro­motes research into sex­u­al­i­ty. Cre­at­ed in 1998, the SDS pro­gram has estab­lished itself as one of the pre­mier pro­grams and cen­tres in the world forg­ing con­nec­tions among fac­ul­ty, under­grad­u­ates, grad­u­ate stu­dents, and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers inter­est­ed in ques­tions about how we under­stand sex­u­al diver­si­ty and sex­u­al prac­tices in soci­ety.



FOR MORE INFORMATION:  vis­it , or call 416–978-6276


Press inquiries:

Chris­tine Elias
Fac­ul­ty of Arts & Sci­ence

Wendy Koslow
Bon­ham Cen­tre