On March 8, 2017, YWCA Banff invites you to join us to celebrate International Women’s Day and the 3rd annual Bow Valley Women of Distinction Awards.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8th around the world, celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Canada’s Change Maker: Amanda Jette Knox



Keynote speaker Amanda Jetté Knox is a writer and LGBTQ rights advocate.

 Mother of 14-year-old transgender daughter Alexis and partner to transgender wife Zoe, Amanda shares their family journey through her blog to advocate for LGBTQ rights. 

In early 2014, Amanda’s middle child came out to the family as a transgender girl, shifting the focus of her mom’s writing career towards LGBTQ rights and education. A few months later, inspired by Alexis’ courage, Amanda’s spouse came out as a transgender woman. Both had been painfully hiding their true selves from the world their entire lives.

It has been two years of very big changes for this family! Amanda is now married to a woman, her kids have two moms, and there is a permanent rainbow over the house that unicorns like to prance around on. It’s all very gay.

Join Amanda for a conversation about the journey that changed everything, and taught Amanda a great deal about courage, compassion and authenticity.

“In the span of 18 months, I found myself raising a preteen daughter I never knew I had and adjusting to life as a same-sex couple. Two of the foundational “truths” I had based my identity on had crumbled. We were suddenly staring down ignorance and bigotry in a way we had never experienced. I felt lost, alone, and terrified. When we stand amongst the rubble, there are only two options: to keep standing there and mourning what we’ve lost, or to start building something even better. With a great deal of reflection and self-care, I chose to build a new foundation that is based on the truths of today: I have a lovely and happier wife, two sons, and a thriving daughter. Our family is stronger than ever.”  – Amanda

Amanda’s work has earned her a human rights award and high praise from those who have followed her family’s journey, which they share openly in the hopes of changing minds and hearts.

Amanda is the recipient of the 2014 Joan Gullen Journalism Award for Media Excellence in small print. Her work – and her family’s journey – has been featured on CBC, The Globe and Mail, UpworthyBuzzfeedUs Weekly, The Today Show, WE Day Vancouver, TedX, and various other national and international publications, podcasts and media outlets. In 2016, Microsoft Canada featured Amanda and Alexis as two of six Canadian change makers who they believe are making a big impact through the use of technology. The pair recently worked with the American Counseling Association and the Human Rights Council to bring international awareness of issues affecting transgender youth.


Bow Valley’s Change Makers 

YWCA Banff will present three extraordinary women leaders in our community with the 3rd annual Bow Valley Women of Distinction Awards.

These awards recognize local women who through their own initiative, ability and effort have demonstrated exemplary achievement in their fields. These women are outstanding role models and an inspiration. They have made substantial contributions to the social fabric of our community in unique ways. 

2017 Bow Valley Women of Distinction Awards

Join us on March 8th as we recognize this year’s recipients: Mary Buckingham, Keri Martens and Janet Townsend.