The U.S. Embassy Ottawa is proud to announce it will be a community partner for this year’s Capital Pride Festival from August 15 to 24. Along with co-hosting the Movie in the Village event on August 22 and participating in this year’s Community Fair, it will also sponsor two Americans to come to Ottawa and play key roles in the festival: Cason Crane, the first openly LGBT man to climb the “Seven Summits,” and Stephanie Battaglino, an activist for transgender issues.
Crane will be the parade’s International Marshal and will also participate in a series of events throughout the week. Battaglino will be the keynote speaker at the Free to Love lecture on August 20 as well as attend a series of other festival events. A full list of festival events and descriptions can be found at capitalpride.ca.
The Embassy’s participation in the festival is helping it to embody President Obama’s support for the LGBT community and to promote issues of equality around the world.
“Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders,” said President Obama in the Presidential proclamation issued to mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgendered Pride Month, June 2014. “In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
Both Crane and Battaglino are available for media interviews before and during the festival. Further information about both of them can be found in the biographies below.
U.S. Embassy Ottawa
Media Relations Coordinator
Cason Crane, International Marshal
Cason Crane is an athlete, adventurer, and activist. Last summer, he became the first openly LGBT and fifth youngest person to climb the “Seven Summits” — the highest mountain on each continent. He accomplished this feat while raising money and awareness for The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention service for LGBTQ youth, in an initiative called The Rainbow Summits Project. In the past, he has volunteered at orphanages in China and Ethiopia, worked in a drug rehabilitation center in Thailand, helped to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka, and sought to bring alternative energy to Haiti. He has also interned for various Middle Eastern non-profits, namely the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Shatil – An Initiative of the New Israel Fund (NIF). In 2013, he was named to Out Magazine’s “Out100” and Instinct Magazine’s “Leading Men of 2013”. He is currently a second-year student at Princeton University.
Stephanie Battaglino, Free To Love Lecture Keynote Speaker
Stephanie Battaglino is a transgendered rights activist and Corporate Vice President at New York Life Insurance Company, responsible for coordinating incentive business meetings for the company’s agent sales force and field management. She successfully transitioned on the job in October of 2005, and is the first transgendered person to do so in the nearly 170–year history of the company.
Stephanie is one of the original group of co-founders of the company’s LGBT employee resource group, NYLPride, in 2007. In addition to her work with NYLPride, she serves on the Board of Directors of both the LGBT Community Center of New York and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF). She is also a member of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates’ Transgender Advisory Committee and is a 2011 graduate of the prestigious LGBT Leadership Institute at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
A nationally recognized speaker and workshop presenter, in 2013 she founded and launched, Follow Your Heart, LLC, a speaking and consulting business focused on transgender workplace issue education and personal empowerment, whose mission is “to create a more diverse world through education and motivation.”