living loud and proud - and giving back
busy and blessed
If there’s one word that most people would use to describe Barb Snelgrove, it’s probably ‘busy’. Snelgrove herself prefers ‘blessed’. The second generation Vancouverite and media professional is well known in the city. “I’m a true-blue west coast girl,” she says. Not only is she fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the temperate climate and fresh ocean breezes, but also she’s also part of, and often speaks for, a thriving, open community.
I was truly blessed to be raised in an atmosphere where who and what I am was completely accepted,” she says, noting she was in her 30s when she first encountered any sort of discrimination.
“It’s more of a live and let live community,” she says of Vancouver. “That’s not to say that there aren’t incidents (of hate) that rear their ugly head, but they are fewer than a lot of places.”
And it’s that good fortune, and awareness that not everyone is so lucky, that has led Snelgrove to fill her life filled with outreach, activism, and doing what she can for her LGBTQ peers.
Snelgrove not only runs her own media consulting business (Megamouth Media), co-hosts a radio show on Queen FM, writes for LOV magazine and reports for Outlook TV, she’s also an active member of the LGBTQ City of Vancouver Advisory Committee, the Vancouver Police Department Diversity Advisory Committee, the Red Ribbon Advisory Panel of Positive Living B.C. She sits on the Advisory Panel of the The Diversity Project Selection Panel, and is an interviewer for the LOUD Foundation BC (a foundation that provides scholarships to LGBTQ Youth).
When asked how she finds time to breathe, she just laughs. “I do like to keep busy, and I like to give back,” she says, noting that despite the freedom and rights that LGBTQ individuals enjoy in Canada, “there are countries that are miles away. Until all of them are free, I take it as a responsibility to work on their behalf.”
As a radio host and reporter, she provides her audience with humour, entertainment and an insightful look at issues affecting the LGBTQ community in BC and across the globe.
“It’s a ball,” she says of her radio show, noting it fits in well with her outgoing personality. While she does enjoy her work on TV, she says radio is her biggest love. “I don’t really like to watch myself.”
Her media work made her a natural fit to be the Vancouver Pride Parade’s emcee this year. Snelgrove has been involved with the parade (which is now the fifth largest Pride parade in the world) for several years. She got involved because she truly believes in the value of the event. Even though Canada, for the most part, is open and accepting, there are still many communities that aren’t as tolerant as the larger cities like Vancouver.
“There are still people that are kicked out of their homes, or bullied in school for being who they are,” she says. “But they can come to Vancouver, to the parade, and see 800,000 people who say ‘there’s nothing wrong with who you are’. That’s powerful.”
While it may seem like her work is all fun and games, it also has a very serious side. Her work with the LGBTQ City of Vancouver Advisory Committee, the Vancouver Police Department Diversity Advisory Committee not only provide the city council and the police with insight into the community, but they also provide the community with a voice.
Vancouver is one of only a handful of Canadian cities with an LGBTQ advisory committee, “and that speaks volumes about the city,” she says proudly. “We are there to make sure their word is heard by the right department. We have a great police department and council who do listen.”
With her dedication to the community, it’s no surprise to learn of the awards and recognition she’s garnered over the past few years.
Those awards include: the Vancouver Pride Society - Outstanding Community Member (2008); Dogwood Monarchist Society - Court Member of the Year (2009); Rhinestone Charitable Foundation - Citizen of the Year (2010); Vancouver Pride Parade Grand Marshal – Local Hero (2010); OutTV Top Ten Queers of the Year Vancouver Edition (2011); GayVancouver.net -Ten People Making a Difference in Vancouver (2011); Ceremonial “Sainthood” Community Work - The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Vancouver Chapter) (2012); and the TELUS Pride Legacy Award YELLOW-Community Superstar (2013). But the cherry on her accolade sundae is definitely her impending induction into the Q Hall of Fame.
The Q Hall of Fame recognizes “individuals for their significant contributions to the struggle for human rights and equality “ for the LGBTQ community. When Snelgrove travels to Toronto on October 3, she’ll join the ranks of others such as k d Lang, Pierre Trudeau and Mark Tewksbury, and Jack Layton.
“I am absolutely blown away,” she says of the nomination, noting it hasn’t really sunk in yet. “I don’t think it will until October 3rd.”
In a press release, Paul Therien, Chairperson for Q Ball and the Q Hall of Fame notes that Q Hall of Fame inductees are “role models for not just members of the LGBT community, but for all Canadians. The Q Hall inductees are a true source of pride, admiration, and dignity for us all. It is through the vision and accomplishments of such pioneers that future generations may better understand and embrace our community and culture.”
When you look at Snelgrove’s work and dedication, it’s easy to see the induction is well-deserved.
To learn more about the Q Hall of Fame, visit www.qhalloffame.ca.
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