Call for applications for the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

This award for 2SLGBTQ+ youth advocates are presented by Sher Vancouver. DIVERSEcity is the exclusive sponsor for the second year.

The call for applications for the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award, presented by Sher Vancouver and sponsored by DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, is now open.

Launched in 2015, the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award is an annual award that recognizes deserving youth (16 to 30 years of age) who have demonstrated involvement, commitment and leadership in the 2SLGBTQ+ community whether locally, nationally or internationally. Youth of any sexual orientation, gender identity or ethnicity are welcome to apply.

“We’re thrilled to continue honouring January’s memory and recognizing youth advocates who are trying to make a difference for the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” says Alex Sangha, founder of Sher Vancouver, a non-profit society for LGBTQ+ South Asians and their friends, families and allies. “We thank DIVERSEcity for coming on board as the exclusive sponsor for the second year.”

“At DIVERSEcity, we strive to uplift work that promotes diversity and inclusion, including for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, so we’re pleased to sponsor the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award for a second year in a row,” says Kristi Pinderi, LGBTQ+ Support Worker at DIVERSEcity. DIVERSEcity is a registered charity that empowers newcomers and other diverse communities with free, multilingual programs, such as its Together Now LGBTQ+ Newcomer Support Group.

“The award gives visibility to the often unrecognized contribution of young advocates for justice, including newcomers, who just like January did, fight back against rejection with passion and activism,” Pinderi adds. “As such, the award not only honours January’s legacy, but is also a meaningful celebration of resilience.”

“January was a unique, empowering voice in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and her example inspired us to create these awards to celebrate youth who are uniquely themselves as they also raise their voices in LGBTQ+ advocacy,” Sangha adds, noting that the award’s newly launched logo reflects these ideals. The snowflake represents January’s uniqueness, beauty and short time in this world. Look closely, and you’ll see the snowflake pattern could also be youth leaders raising their arms in victory.

Who was January Marie Lapuz?

January Marie Lapuz was born on April 9, 1986, in Santiago City, Philippines and passed away on September 30, 2012, in New Westminster, B.C. January was the Social Coordinator of Sher Vancouver, and was the first transgender person to hold an executive position within the organization. She welcomed new members, connected them to information and support services, and helped organize and plan social activities and events. A singer and dancer, she also performed at Sher events. She was a kind, caring, generous and loyal friend, who helped other transgender women with their gender transition. January had many challenges and struggles as an immigrant, as a person of colour and as a transgender woman living in poverty. Nonetheless, she was a bright light and shining star in Sher Vancouver. She had a special ability to get people to put their differences aside and move forward in the best interests of each other and the organization. Not a day goes by that January’s friends don’t miss her.

Applying for the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

Applications are now being accepted for the award until December 31, 2020. Winners will be announced in January 2021.

Winners will receive a letter of congratulations, a framed certificate, as well as a cash prize sponsored by DIVERSEcity, as follows:
• Winner: $1000
• First runner-up: $600
• Second runner-up: $400
• Plus additional awards

To apply for the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award, please visit: