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Introducing the Sexuality and Gender Advocacy (SAGA) Alumni Network

Introducing the Sexuality and Gender Advocacy (SAGA) Alumni Network

The Sexuality and Gender Advocacy (SAGA) Alumni Network is York’s recently launched 2SLGBTQIA+ alumni network. The network offers mentorship, programming, guidance and social opportunities for York’s 2SLGBTQIA+ alumni and student communities while promoting the values of equity, diversity and inclusion. 

“It's exciting to work with SAGA as a continuous network for queer and trans people who share a connection with York University past, present, and future so that we can rally together and support each other in times of both success and hardship,” says Shant Joshi (BFA ’17), president and executive producer of Fae Pictures and a 2021 honouree of York’s Top 30 Alumni Under 30 program. 

As a recently formed network, SAGA is currently seeking new members. If you are interested in joining SAGA or hearing about their upcoming initiatives, please contact Evan Goldenthal, Alumni Engagement Officer, at  

Meet the network

Alumna Susan Gapka

Susan Gapka

(Trans Elder) (she/her/elle)

BA '09, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Education and Training Facilitator, The 519
Executive Board Member, CUPE Ontario Pink Triangle Committee

Susan Gapka (BA '09) is a dedicated campaigner for social justice. She has worked for affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, harm reduction, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues since coming out as a community leader more than 20 years ago.

As founder and chair of the Trans Lobby Group, Susan helped lead a lengthy campaign to persuade the Ontario Minister of Health to fund sex reassignment surgery for trans people.  She also helped change the Ontario Vital Statistics Act so that trans people's legal documents can more accurately reflect their lived identities.  She also help lead the campaign to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include "gender identity" and "gender expression."  

Susan has served on the Toronto Local Advisory Committee and as Toronto representative on the National Consumer Panel of the At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project, the Housing Component for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She also served on the Board of Pride Toronto which hosted World Pride 2014 and is past Fierté Canada Pride's Central Regional Director for Ontario.

Susan has been employed at The 519 since 2015 in the Education Department as an Education and Training facilitator. She was elected to CUPE Ontario Pink Triangle Committee in December 2017 and appointed to CUPE National Pink Triangle Committee in January 2018. Susan was elected to CUPE Ontario Women’s Committee in December 2018. Susan is the first out trans Executive Board member of CUPE Ontario and was reelected May 2021.

Susan has a degree in Political Science from York University and a diploma in Community Work from George Brown College.‎

Susan Gapka is a proud recipient of the City of Toronto Pride Award (2004), CAMH Courage to Come Back Award (1999), and Canada 150 Difference Maker in Mental Health (2017), holds a Key to the City of Toronto (2018), and received CUPE National’s Grace Hartman Award (2021)

Susan is also the recipient of multiple York University Student Awards: 

  • Christopher Janca Award: McLaughlin College Students Council 2007. Presented to graduating student for exceptional achievement in McLaughlin College and York University 
  • Ellen Bar Award: McLaughlin College Masters Office 2004 & 2006. For commitment to the public policy mandate of McLaughlin College 
  • Ross McMillan Award: McLaughlin College Students Council 2002 & 2004 & 2006. For Outstanding contribution to the York community by a McLaughlin College Student 
  • Vice President Students Debra Hobson Award for Student Leadership 2005. For outstanding leadership and significant contributions towards promoting school Spirit. 
Israa Izzeddin

Israa Izzeddin


BA '17, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Policy student, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Israa Izzeddin (BA '17) is an equity-policy enthusiast working within The Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services (MCCSS) as a co-op master-level policy student. She is a passionate changemaker and hopes to advance a more equitable society through public policy. She is currently the president of the Graduate Student's Association of Public Policy, Administration and Law (GSAPPAL) and holds multiple executive roles on boards across Canada. Israa is an expert speaker on the multiple intersectionalities facing women and the 2SLGBTQ+ community including mental health, accessibility, and diversity and inclusion. She joined SAGA in hopes of bringing her advocacy and awareness skills to the 2SLGBTQ+ York University alumni community and building a strong-net community for York's 2SLGBTQ+ alumni. 

Shant Joshi

Shant Joshi


BFA '17, School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design
President and Executive Producer, Fae Pictures

Shant Joshi (BFA '17) is a queer Indo-Canadian producer based in Los Angeles and Toronto. His credits include the films Framing Agnes (Sundance, NEXT Audience Award, NEXT Innovator Award), International Dawn Chorus Day (Berlin, TEDDY Award Winner), Porcupine Lake (Toronto), and Noor & Layla (BlackStar); the hit web series Teenagers (CSAs); and the Dekkoo original series, I’m Fine (Outfest). Shant co-founded the Future of Film Showcase as a launchpad for emerging Canadian filmmakers, and he previously worked at the United Talent Agency, Buchwald, and Lit Entertainment Group (fka Madhouse Entertainment).  He is an alum of the Producers Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, holds a Certificate in Entertainment Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, and was named to York University’s inaugural Top 30 Changemakers Under 30 in 2021. 

Shant is currently vice-chair on the board of directors at BIPOC TV & Film, a sitting member of the Restructuring, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Action Committee at the Canadian Media Producers Association, and sits on the advisory board at the Future of Film Showcase

Sarah Rayner

Sarah Rayner


BA '18, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
PhD student in Cultural Studies at Trent University

Sarah Rayner (BA '18) is a PhD student in Cultural Studies at Trent University. They hold a Master’s in Cultural Studies from Trent University, alongside a Specialized Hons. BA in Human Rights & Equity Studies from York University, and a Diploma from George Brown College in Community Work. As a nonbinary lesbian with a background in social justice work and visual art, their passions intersect through their research into queer visual cultures, feminist media studies, and queer and feminist social movement histories. Though currently focused on their academic work as a researcher and teaching assistant, Sarah has also worked as a community worker and educator for various 2sLGBTQ+ service groups and social service centres, and remains involved in their community through volunteer work. 

Zoey Wyeld leaning against a tree

Zoey Wyeld


BFA '16, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design 
Filmmaker, Assistant Editor 

Zoey Wyeld (BFA '16) is a bisexual and transgender woman who graduated from York University with a degree in Film Production. As a filmmaker, she has produced a plethora of short form content. Most recently, she created and directed a horror web series entitled LILcanthropy, which tackles the social stigma of sexually transmitted infections. As an Assistant Editor, her numerous credits include TV shows made for Corus Entertainment, Blue Ant Media, Warner Bros. Discovery, and the History Channel. Zoey has just wrapped on two shows coming to Discovery+ this summer, and is currently seeking out her next adventure -- which she hopes will be trans-focused and very uplifting.