Stittsville tween activist will marshal Ottawa’s Pride Parade

(PHOTO: Charlie Lowthian-Rickert on the Family Services of Ottawa/Gender Mosaic float at last year’s parade.)

Stittsville’s Charlie Lowthian-Rickert will be the Grand Marshal at this year’s Ottawa Pride Parade in downtown Ottawa.

Lowthian-Rickert, a ten-year-old student heading into Grade 5 this fall, is a passionate advocate for the rights of transgender, gender fluid, gender queer and intersex Canadians. Charlie was born in the body of a boy but has identified as a girl since she was a toddler.

“We were contacted by the event chair a couple of weeks ago, but asked to wait until the big announcement,” her mom Anne Lowthian tells (Charlie is away at camp this week.)

“Charlie’s really felt it the last little while, she’s very sentimental, knows the honour that it is, and feels the support from her community,” says Lowthian.

In May, she joined the federal Justice Minister for the tabling of Bill C-16. She is actively raising funds for Family Services of Ottawa, and she will be featured in a documentary on gender diversity that will air nationally in the coming months.

“We’re so excited for her, she works so hard, and she really does care. It’s nice to see her enjoy the moment,” says Lowthian. “We were there to watch as she stood up at the podium with the Justice Minister and handled it with aplomb. She continues to surprise us. That’s been the joy of the ride, she continues to teach us something about her or about ourselves, and that’s been a joy for us. She’s been a gift for us in so many ways.”

The parade is on Sunday, August 21st from 1:00pm-3:00pm downtown, starting at Bank and Gladstone. More info…

“Every year we choose a Grand Marshal who exemplifies leadership in advocacy and improving the lives of those in the LGBTTQ+ community, both locally and globally. As Capital Pride 2016 furthers the conversation on Bathrooms without Borders and safe spaces for all, Charlie was a natural choice for Parade Grand Marshal,” parade organizers wrote in a press release today.

Lowthian-Rickert was on a float in last year’s parade, joined by family and friends. This year she’ll be in the lead car.

“We’re calling her ‘the grand poobah’. We’re hoping to walk behind her car. We have a Pride Canada flag signed by a lot of her friends at Camp Ten Oaks and at Family Services, symbolically saying that we support her,” says her mom.

As parade marshall she’ll also be involved in a number of other events, including a family barbecue in Hintonburg, and seh’ll be speaking at a Human Rights Vigil on August 17.

When she is not engaged in public policy debate, you will likely find Charlie reading books, making music, enjoying nature or building model cars and planes. Charlie is considering running for Parliament someday, and expects to stay active in trans’ rights advocacy until such efforts are no longer needed.

Charlie Lowthian-Rickert flies the pride flag on Parliament Hill.
Charlie Lowthian-Rickert flies the pride flag on Parliament Hill.

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