On Being Transgender

On Wednesday September 11th Diversitas Presents Cynthia Fortlage: On Being Transgender with local guest Grayson L’Hirondelle.

Ms. Fortlage is founder of her own start-up firm focusing on sharing her knowledge, skills, and abilities that were honed over the last 30 years+ as the architect and overseer of the technology portfolio, and most senior technology executive for a privately held firm based in Winnipeg, Canada.

Specifically, her business provides services to individuals and businesses with Technology & Social Business Consulting including fractional CIO services, Diversity Consulting, Career Coaching for individuals, and a wide variety of Public Speaking topics.

Ms. Fortlage developed the 5 steps to Acceptance without Understanding™ and shares her insights through various mediums including blogs, plays, consultations, training, coaching and mentorship.

Using her skills as a leader, coach, actor, parent, and public speaker as the basis for which she builds upon and shares these unique experiences and applicability of Acceptance without Understanding™ regarding family, career, and life in general to help others who are on their journey in life.

Since 2017 She is Board President of Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. Rainbow Resource Centre is Manitoba’s only dedicated LGBT+ resource centre and it is the longest continually running LGBT+ centre in Canada for the past 46 years.

In 2019 she was asked to lead the National Board of Women’s March Canada, a feminist organization focused on evolving from a march to a movement for women’s rights in Canada.

Ms. Fortlage is well spoken and publicized with media, analysts, vendors, and clients and has presented in more than 150 events in 17 countries.

Ms. Fortlage will be joined by local resident Grayson L’Hirondelle during Q&A where both will be available to answer questions about being transgender.

The event starts at 7 pm at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre’s Aquasaur Theatre.

Diversitas Films

56-3622264-1423434461e8fd2e829114477fa9a0e433f882c13e“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” 

― Ingmar Bergman

Hello folks,

It will be four years this December since Diversitas was first launched. Can you believe it? By the time December rolls around we will have had 21 amazing speakers in that time.

Looking back on it I am frankly surprised by how well received it has been and the quality of our speakers (not to mention our audience). It has been an uplifting experience.

Moving forward we will be making some changes to ensure we do not stagnate. Starting in 2020 Diversitas Films is going to be a regular part of Diversitas.

We will be showcasing movies that speak to the human condition to one degree or another. As with the speakers these films will not be the kind of movies we would have had access to in our area (not so mainstream).

The film presentations will be FREE just like our speaker series has been.

We will still entertain speakers from time to time but for the foreseeable future films will take the main stage.

Why movies?

When done well, movies have the potential to be the ultimate form of art blending the visual, the written, and the musical realms into one symphony of meaning and sensory experience.

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words so a film is boundless in its ability to communicate timeless truths.

We will not shy away from controversial content but you will always know in advance what you are in for.

As the first of the Diversitas Films series (yet to be scheduled) we will likely watch Wings of Desire by German director Wim Wenders. Stay tuned for more information and thanks for your ongoing support.

What’s Next?

We are still waiting to confirm (or not) our date with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for May. If this is not confirmed our next event will be in September.

Stay tuned!

The Yazidi with Nafiya Naso


The Yazidis are a mostly Kurmanji speaking minority ethnoreligious group, indigenous to a region of northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northern Syria and southeastern Turkey). Many Yazidis consider Yazidism both an ethnic and a religious identity. Their religion, Yazidism, is also called Sharfadin by Yazidis. It is a monotheistic religion and has elements of ancient mesopotamian religions. (From Wikipedia)

Our speaker – Nafiya Naso is one of more than 1,200 Yazidi’s in Canada, almost 400 of whom live in Winnipeg. Naso is a Yazidi social worker with Jewish Child and Family Services who was a child when she arrived in Canada as a refugee.

Humour in the Indigenous Context: Tim Fontaine


RE-SCHEDULED! Editor-in-Grand-Chief Tim Fontaine of Walking Eagle News presents on humour in the Indigenous context. You do not want to miss this. After Mr. Fontaine’s re-scheduled presentation on Feb. 25 at 7 pm at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. There will be an open Q&A time and opportunity to meet and greet.

FROM WALKING EAGLE NEWS WEBSITE: Since launching in 2017, Walking Eagle News has emerged as the foremost leader in the world of Indigenous news. We are your finest source of Indigenous news, anywhere.

Tim Fontaine is the Founder, Editor-in-Grand-Chief and Head Writer. He started Walking Eagle News as a means of setting his illustrious journalism career on fire and dancing in its ashes.

Tim Fontaine was a real journalist for almost two decades before becoming a pretend journalist and worked for APTN National News, iChannel, CPAC and CBC Indigenous.

A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, he grew up mainly on the Hollow Water First Nation and in Winnipeg. He currently lives in Winnipeg where he single-handedly invented and refined Indigenous journalism.

Diversitas 2019 Season Set

667-Peter-Diversitas-Logo-Final mediumThe speakers for the 2019 Diversitas series are set and include the subjects of Indigenous Satire, the Yazidis, Sikhs, and the Transgender community.

Starting the year off on Jan. 23 at 7 pm at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre will be Editor-In-Grand-Chief of Walking Eagle News Tim Fontaine whol will be speaking about satire and humour as it relates to the Indigenous community. Fontaine’s wildly successful Walking Eagle News has more than 10,000 followers on Facebook after only one year since its inception.

Fontaine’s website declares “Tim Fontaine was a real journalist for almost two decades before becoming a pretend journalist and worked for APTN National News, iChannel, CPAC and CBC Indigenous. A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, he grew up mainly on the Hollow Water First Nation and in Winnipeg. He currently lives in Winnipeg where he single-handedly invented and refined Indigenous journalism.”

Following Fontaine on April 10 Nafiya Naso will be speaking about the Yazidi community, their culture, history and recent persecution at the hands of ISIS.

Naso, founder of the Yazidi Community of Manitoba, came to Canada at the age of 10 after spending six years in a refugee camp with her family and now spends time assisting more recently arrived Yazidis.

In May Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will come to Diversitas to present on Sikhs and Sikhism in Canada.

With a growing community of hundreds in the Pembina Valley the Sikh community is becoming an integral part of the region making an educational session such as this make sense.

After a summer break Diversitas will be back on September 11 with a presentation on Being Transgender from Cynthia Fortlage is a board member of Women’s March Canada, former president and board member of Winnipeg’s Rainbow Resource Centre and brings wealth of experience. Fortlage is also VP of Information Technology for GHY International.

“It’s a truly great lineup for 2019,” said Diversitas founder Peter Cantelon. “It continues to push forward the goals of Diversitas to educate and inform people in the Pembina Valley in areas they might otherwise have no information on.”

Since it started in 2015 Diversitas has hosted 19 speakers on subjects ranging from Islam, Judaism, Antisemitism, Women & Feminism, Human Rights, Palestinians, Indigenous Peoples, and more.

For more information about Diversitas visit http://www.diversitas.ca or email info@diversitas.ca.

Wab Kinew on Residential Schools

wab-kinewOn October 29 at 7 pm there will be a presentation on the Residential School system in Canada by Wab Kinew.

Wab Kinew (pron: WOB ka-NOO) was named by the National Post as “an aboriginal leader seeking to engage with Canadians at large”. He is the MLA for Fort Rouge in Manitoba and the author of the award winning Number 1 national bestseller “The Reason You Walk: A Memoir.” Wab is a former, host of the documentary series “8th Fire” and past host CBC’s Canada Reads literary competition. Wab is also an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. first Director of Indigenous Inclusion. He has been the Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Relations at The University of Winnipeg since 2014.

This is a FREE event which will take place in the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre’s Aquasaur Theatre. For more information visit http://www.Facebook.com/D1versitas or email info@diversitas.ca