After a short stay in Halifax in 1993 - 1994, Raymond moved permanently from Sault Ste. Marie in the late '90s, and in 2001, got involved with the local PrideWeek organizing committee. In 2003 he took over the highest profile job with Pride, that of co-chair; that year he organized a reception for LGBT community pioneers, Years Of Pride at the Halifax Club, and created a number of Halifax Pride firsts, including in 2003, a downtown merchants' window decorating contest, and garden tours in south end homes. He represented eastern Canada on the board of Fierté Canada Pride, the national organization of Pride Festivals.1
In 2003 he became Prime Minster (that is, Chair) of ISCANS, the local drag queen organization, and began a relationship of very successful of fundraising and a transition from "Barony" to "Imperial Court" with peers around the world.
After several years of writing articles and press releases, in 2004, Raymond joined the production team of WayvesMagazine as Editor and Managing Editor. Raymond produced spectacular events, wrote hundreds of interviews, news pieces, opinion pieces, took thousands of photographs and most importantly, coached a hundred writers, professional and non, into taking an interest in their communities and making things better by shining light on the beautiful parts of life -- and the ugly.
In January 2011, he left Wayves, with, he said, plans to change the world in new ways.
Above all other things Raymond was an idealist; he believed that a perfect world was attainable -- with just a little more work. In his words, "It's a big world out there; on so many levels there's much that needs to be done."
If you had anything to do with the LGBT community in Atlantic Canada, you knew Raymond's name and he had probably encouraged you to think, write, and do something make the world a better place.
On October 15, 2012, Raymond received the Governor General's Diamond Jubillee Medal, via a volunteer committee organized by Halifax MP MeganLeslie?, one of 30 allocated to her, and 60,000 given out across the country.
August, 2013: Garden in Raymond's memory created in the empty lot across from Menz3
November 1, 2013: NSRAP honours CBC Radio’s Mainstreet NS and Maritime Magazine with the 2013 Raymond Taavel Media Award. “It is still exceedingly rare for the LGBT community to catch the mainstream media’s attention,” said NSRAP Chair Lisa Buchanan, “unless there is either a tragedy or controversy. And in those situations the coverage is often sensationalized. Both of these programs have been exemplary in their portrayal of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identifying Maritimers as they are, real people.” Over the last year, Maritime Magazine has presented several half hour documentaries on LGBT people, including a program on trans students attending university in Charlottetown, PEI, and a story about an openly gay high school student in New Brunswick whose positive outlook and example transformed their community. Mainstreet NS has consistently offered nuanced, accurate reporting about Nova Scotia’s LGBT communities. They have explored issues facing older LGBT people, trans issues, and LGBT youth.
May 6, 2011 Memorial Walk And Celebration Service Media Coverage
A trust fund account has been created to help Raymond Taavel's family cover funeral and other final expenses. Donations can be made at any TD Canda Trust branch in the country. Donate to Account Number 0036 – 6399950
After his death in 2012, a makeshift memorial came together across the street. A year later, an artist visiting the city created a healing garden in the empty lot. 4 The tribute was meant to be temporary and was set to be dismantled in the summer of 2014. At a public meeting on August 14, 2014, organized by NathanSmith?, fifteen friends and relatives discussed a permanent public memorial, such as a lamppost flickering rainbow colours, a rainbow archway crossing Gottingen Street and a soapbox for community voices. 5
In the foyer of Halifax City Hall:
Presented to Halifax In Memory of Raymond Taavel 1962-2012. "Be Out, Be Informed, Be Compassionate, Be The Change!"
-- From Darren Lewis and the Taavel Family, Pride 2014.
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