Alex Sangha receives The Meritorious Service Medal from The Governor General of Canada

Sher Vancouver Founder Alex Sangha meets with Her Excellency The Right Honourable Julie Payette at Rideau Hall

Surrey, British Columbia – Sher Vancouver Founder Alex Sangha meets with Her Excellency The Right Honourable Julie Payette at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on March 26, 2019 to receive the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) in the Civil Division.

It was a real honour and once in a lifetime experience to meet with the Governor General in person and visit Rideau Hall.  There were so many amazing people from all over Canada doing amazing things for their country.  I felt truly humbled and honoured to be included amongst this group of remarkable Canadians

Alex Sangha

Founder of the Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society

12 people from across Canada received the Meritorious Service Medal.  Below is the citation that the Governor General’s staff read out at the official presentation ceremony:

Amar (Alex) Sangha, M.S.M.

Delta, British Columbia

Amar (Alex) Sangha founded Sher Vancouver, a cultural and support group for LGBTQ+ South Asians, their friends and their families. With patience and compassion, he has built bridges in his community and changed social attitudes toward all types of lifestyles. His courage to speak out in the face of prejudice and resistance paved the way for countless others to step forward and began a cross-cultural dialogue on understanding diversity.

When Alex actually met the Governor General and shaked her hand, the Governor General thanked Alex for his service and stated he “is doing important work.”  Alex also stated he would like to give her a copy of his documentary which the Governor General stated she would be happy to receive.

At the formal reception after the presentation ceremony Alex got a chance to speak with the Governor General and did in fact provide her with a limited-edition DVD copy of his multiple international award-winning short Canadian documentary, My Name Was January, which is about Sher Vancouver’s late social coordinator, January Marie Lapuz, who was a transgender Filipina woman who tragically died in September 2012.  

Specifically, Alex stated to the Governor General the following.

Thank you for accepting my documentary.  It has been an official selection at over 30 film festivals around the world and won 10 awards to date.  It will be screening at the British Museum in London this summer as part of the Queer Asia Film Festival.  The documentary is about my transgender friend who tragically died.   The film does not focus on her death, however, but instead celebrates her life among her family and friends and other trans women of colour.  The film is only 26 minutes long, so I really hope you can watch it.

Governor General Julie Payette was happy to accept a copy of My Name Was January, as well as do photos with my friends and family (see attached).

The following members were part of the Sher Vancouver’s contingent in Ottawa and visited Rideau Hall.

Alex Sangha – Sher Vancouver Founder (Recipient) 

Jaspal Kaur Sangha – Alex Sangha’s Mother

Ash Brar – Sher Vancouver President 

Kayden Bhangu – Sher Vancouver Vice President 

Antone Dabeet – Alex Sangha’s Friend

” Ottawa is a beautiful city and I was so blessed to get a chance to visit our nation’s capital city ”               – states Alex Sangha

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