David Pepper

David was born in Fargo, North Dakota but raised in Brandon, Manitoba. He is a prairie boy to the core. He has lived most of his life in Ottawa where he has come out, met his partner in 1986 with whom he still lives and loves, and become an activist and a social justice advocate. His queer life contributions have been centred around equality, community journalism, AIDS, anti-hate and anti-racism work, and queer refugees. He was the founder of North Star Triangle Project in 2010, and co-founder of several other groups including the Ottawa-Hull Lesbian and Gay Task Force on Violence (1989); the Ottawa Police Liaison Committee (1991), Capital Rainbow Refuge (2010). Throughout his life he has been active in many community organizations both queer and mainstream. This included GO (Gays of Ottawa) and its successor groups, GO Info, Pink Triangle Services, AID Committee of Ottawa and Queer Nation.

David was an active contributor as a community journalist to GO Info and subsequently a columnist with Capital Xtra!. After graduating from Carleton University, he spent 8 years on Parliament Hill between 1985 and 1993 working for Svend Robinson—during the years in which Svend came out as the first openly gay MP. Tumultuous years to say the least. He was active in AIDS work at various levels— serving on the board of the AIDS Committee of Ottawa in the late 1980s and contributing to various policy and education initiatives there and nationally. His anti-violence activism and demands for better policing in Ottawa and Canada—led to his appointment as the first Director of Community Development for the Ottawa Police in 1995. During a 17-year career with the police, David was a strong advocate for strengthened responses to hate in the community. He was a frequent commentator and contributor to the movement for hate crimes legislation in the country.

In 2011—after founding the North Star Triangle Project—David undertook a 23-city bus tour of Canada to mobilize LGBTQ communities around the idea of sponsoring queer refugees from around the world. Upon his return, he has been a part of Capital Rainbow Refuge—where he continues his efforts to sponsor and advocate for LGBTQ refugees. His refugee work continues and will be his activist focus for the rest of his life.

He has served as the Grand Marshall of the Ottawa Pride Parade twice (sharing the honours in 1995 with Carroll Holland and Elisabeth Arnold and again in 2015 when he joined the Parade of Grand Marshals). In 2011 he was named Grand Marshal of the Winnipeg Pride Parade which led off by a speech on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature under the watchful eye of the "Golden Boy". This was a particular honour for a returning prairie boy.