In 2007, Kyle Winters and a small number of U of T leaders each invited 10 people to join a new U of T alumni group, encouraging each person to invite 10 more. Before long, the university’s LGBTQ alumni membership stood at 800 and its events – a year-end mixer called “Snowflake” and the annual Pride Kick-Off in June – were attracting more than 200 attendees. Several members of the group are expected to travel together to Buenos Aires and Uruguay this fall, and future plans include an awards program for youth and a volunteer network.
“Getting the word out has been a challenge, but there is a strong sense of connection within the community,” says Winters, an executive director in U of T’s advancement office who recently added diversity advancement to his portfolio.
A reputation for fun events is another drawing card. “Snowflake at the Drake Hotel was one of the best alumni events I’ve been to,” says Paul Cadario (BASc 1973), the first openly gay president of the U of T Alumni Association.
Winters is hopeful that U of T’s gay alumni will continue to reconnect with their alma mater. “U of T is serious about engaging its LGBTQ alumni and sees this as a way of helping to build a stronger LGBTQ community,” he says.
For more information, visit the LGBTQ portal in Groups and Networks at alumni.utoronto.ca or contact Sabrina Chang at (416) 978-5881. Interested in visiting Buenos Aires? Contact U of T Alumni Travel at (416) 978-2367.