Fondation Émergence honours Dr. Réjean Thomas with the 2017 Laurent-McCutcheon Award for his commitment to the fight against homophobia and transphobia

Published by May 15, 2017 6:00 am

Fondation Émergence honours Dr. Réjean Thomas with the 2017 Laurent-McCutcheon Award for his

commitment to the fight against homophobia and transphobia


In collaboration with the National Bank, the official presenter of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia



Montreal, May 12, 2017 — At a ceremony hosted by Marguerite Blais, to be held on May 15th at the National Bank’s Montreal head office, Fondation Émergence will present the 2017 Laurent McCutcheon Award to Dr. Réjean Thomas.

“The National Bank is proud to be hosting the Laurent McCutcheon Award ceremony in its facilities. The awareness-raising initiatives of the different recipients are outstanding,” stated Vicky Wistaff, Vice President for Personal Banking Services—Western Quebec. “As an employer, we can take part in these awareness-raising efforts, particularly by creating an inclusive, diversified work environment. Our presence, for the 7th year in a row, on the list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, has motivated us to continue our actions in this respect.”

This award is presented annually to a personality who has had a tangible impact on the fight against homophobia and transphobia during their career. Fondation Émergence’s president, Claude Leblond, and the members of the board of directors, want to recognize Réjean Thomas’s exceptional commitment to the cause, especially his fight to end prejudice against people with HIV/AIDS.

  • Thomas is the founder of l’Annexe, the first clinic in Canada to specialize in sexually transmitted infections, and still works at the clinic, now known as l’Actuel. He played a major role in supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, particularly when it was hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the contaminated blood scandals. A skilled communicator, he quickly became a credible spokesperson that the LGBT population paid attention to, allowing him to:
  • raise their awareness and educate them about methods of prevention:
  • fight the prejudices that burdened the LGBT community, gay men in particular;
  • reassure the public and give hope to HIV-positive individuals and their loved ones by explaining that HIV was not a death sentence.

“At the time that our communities were ostracized because of the HIV/AIDS crisis and the blood donor scandal, Dr. Réjean Thomas spoke out and quickly became a credible, sought-after spokesperson. A skilled communicator and popularizer, he informed the public and raised awareness among stakeholders. In short, he undertook a long battle against prejudice, which he is still involved in today,” added Claude Leblond, President of Fondation Émergence.

The homophobia that accompanied the burgeoning epidemic stalled progress in the fight for the social and legal recognition of LGBT people. Combating this phenomenon required educating and raising public awareness about homophobia, and demystifying the prejudices that people with HIV/AIDS were experiencing – precisely the actions that Dr. Thomas has undertaken up to now.

For the occasion, Stéphanie Vallée, Minister of Justice, Attorney General for Quebec, and the government official responsible for the fight against homophobia and transphobia, and Claude Leblond, President of Fondation Émergence, will present Dr. Thomas with the trophy created by Danielle Roy and inspired by landscape artist Claude Cormier’s “Pink Balls” installation.

At the same time, Fondation Émergence’s 2017 Allié.e and Coup de Cœur awards will be given to the following recipients:

  • The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, for their programming in recent years related to sexual diversity and gender plurality (2017 Allié.e award).
  • Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay, for her artistic achievements over the past year, which have made her a model of authenticity and self-affirmation for society as a whole (2017 Coup de Cœur award).

These awards are given annually to personalities who have done outstanding work in the fight against homophobia and transphobia. By awarding the 2017 Allié.e and Coup de Cœur awards, Fondation Émergence’s president and board of directors want to recognize, through their public position, the invaluable support provided by these recipients in raising public awareness about the realities of LGBT people.


About Fondation Émergence

Fondation Émergence strives to fight homophobia and transphobia and defend the rights and social inclusion of LGBT people through various programs. Founded in the year 2000, Fondation Émergence was the instigator of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, launched in 2003., 

The Laurent-McCutcheon Award is presented annually to a public personality, and Dr. Réjean Thomas joins the fifteen previous recipients: the right honourable Justin Trudeau (2016), Monique Giroux (2015), Michel Marc Bouchard (2014), Ariane Moffatt (2013), Fabienne Larouche (2012), Xavier Dolan (2011), Michel Tremblay (2010), Dany Turcotte (2009), Marc-André Bédard and Joanne Kathleen Rowling (2008), Mark Tewksbury (2007), Canadian MPs (2006), the right honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau (posthumously in 2005), Raymond Gravel (2004), and Janette Bertrand (2003).


About the National Bank of Canada

With 234 billion dollars in assets as of January 31, 2017, the National Bank of Canada, along with its subsidiaries, is one of Canada’s largest integrated financial groups. It employs over 21,000 people and is recognized as a premier employer. Its securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA). Follow its activities on or through social networks such as FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.


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Source: Fondation Émergence

For additional information:
Laurent Breault
Program Director
Fondation Émergence

Media relations
Alain Labonté Communications