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Dean L. Nelson

Short Bio:

Dean Nelson is a travel expert specializing in LGBTQ Travel and is an LGBTQ activist. Nelson for the past 12 years has produced the award winning annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, co-founder of Mr. Gay World in 2009 and the founder of the Pride House at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

In 2018 his alma mater, Thompson Rivers University, bestowed one of the greatest honours of recognition the University is able to give to an individual for his contributions to LGBTQ tourism and leadership in LGBTQ visibility and awareness with a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. He was also recognized by the International Gay Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA) with a Pioneer Award for his ongoing dedication and inspiration of linking LGBTQ Tourism and Sports. In 2017 Travel Gay Canada recognized Nelson's dedication with the LGBT Tourism Leader of the Year Award.


A Social Media contributor to #iLoveGay and brand ambassador for Whistler, BC, Canada (Tourism Whistler + Whistler Blackcomb) and a freelance travel writer.

Nelson has visited over 100 countries and has visited all seven continents visiting various Pride events, conferences, tours and destinations.      

Recent Highlights


  • CBC Daybreak with Shirley Joyce | LGBT Tourism

  • ABC - Australian Broadcast with Karin Adam | LGBT Sports, Pride House at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

  • TELUS TV | Whistler's Pride a short Biography of Dean Nelson

  • Outlook TV | LGBT Tourism, IGLTA Pioneer Award recipient

  • Outlook TV | Whistler Pride 2018 

  • BT Vancouver CityTV | Whistler Pride interview

  • BT Vancouver CityTV | Grand Marshal - Vancouver Pride


Social Media:

Facebook Live with Canadian Olympian Eric Radford

Interviews and News 

Articles on Dean Nelson

In Print

  • Seattle Times, July 5, 2018 - Diversity of Whistler, Pride comes to Town

  • Eastern Reporter Australia, May 28, 2018 - Mr. Gay World Knysna, South Africa

  • Travel Pulse, May 24, 2018 - IGLTA Honours Gay Travel Comes Together

  • Travel Industry Today, May 7, 2018 - IGLTA Global Convention in Toronto, Dean Nelson Pioneer Award Recipient

  • The Guardian, April 11, 2018 - Cheering on their own team: how the Gold Coast has welcomed LGBTI athletes

  • Winq Magazine, February 20, 2018 - Why Canada has once again opened a Pride House, Olympic Winter Games

  • Whistler Traveller, December 1, 2017 - My Whistler: LGBT Tourism Leader, Dean Nelson

  • Via Sports, August 11, 2017 - What LGBTQ Athletes Desire: An Authentic Identity

  • Pique Newsmagazine, June 15, 2017 - Dean Nelson named LGBT Tourism Leader of the Year

  • Davie Village Post, June 7, 2017 - LGBTQ Advocate Dean Nelson spot light

  • Pique Newsmagazine, January 22, 2017 - 25 Years on the Evolution of Whistler Pride

  • Pique Newsmagazine, March 6, 2016 - Whistler Pride CEO, Dean Nelson, to receive Human Rights Award

  • Daily Xtra, April 30, 2015 - Pride House at FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver 

  •, January 12, 2015 - Whistler Pride do not put away your gay apparel just yet

  • Vancouver Sun, August 4, 2014 - Rainbow Flag raised at Whitecaps Game

  • Out Visions Magazine, July 1, 2012 - On Top of the World

  •, February 25, 2010 - Going for Gold

  • New York Times, July 19, 2009 - New Olympic House for 2010 Games

  • The Toronto Star, June 4, 2009 - Vancouver Games to feature Pride House


- Travel Articles

by Dean Nelson

Published Articles

Social Media Campaigns


  • Travel Alberta + Via Rail​

    • #ThreeGaysOnATrain - May 2018​

  • Canadian Olympic Committee

    • #PrideHouse #PyeongChang2018​ - February 2018​

  • Breckenridge - Vail Resorts​ 

    • #BreckPride​ - March 2018

  • Tourism Whistler​

    • #Gaynamicduo #Cornucopia2017 - November 2017​

  • Travel Alberta + Fairmont Rocky Mountain Resorts ​

    • #Gaynamicduo - March 2016​


2018 School of Business

Convocation Address, TRU

When you live a hidden identity, you are expending so much more energy to be someone you are not. You slowly become just a shell of the dynamic person you truly are.

2018 IGLTA

Voyage Awards Reception together in finding these partnerships to continue to give our community visibility and to move the needle to a safer and more inclusive environment for all of our citizens throughout the world. We are better Together - United by our Diversity.

2016 TRU Alumni Awards Gala

... we challenged the IOC (International Olympic Committee) ... we need to make our sporting environment safe for all of our athletes  to be fiercely authentic  so they can do their best...

Other engagements

  • Mr. Gay World - Knysna, South Africa 2018 | International Judge

  • Travel Alberta + Via Rail Jasper - Winnipeg 2018 - Social Media

  • Travel Gay Canada Diversity Workshop - Comox, BC 2017

  • Travel Gay Canada Diversity Workshop - Whitehorse, YK 2017

  • World Pride Madrid 2017 - Social Media Contributor

  • GSBA - LGBT Economic Summit 2017 | Panel Discussion

  • Travel Gay Canada Diversity Workshop - Vancouver 2016

  • World Pride Toronto 2014 - Social Media Contributor

  • Mr. Gay World - Johannsburg, South Africa 2011 | Grand Finale

  • Mr. Gay Europe - Budhapest, Hungary 2008 | International Judge

Dean is available for Public Speaking, Panel Discussions and consulting on LGBTQ Tourism, Diversity Training, and coaching.

For more information click on the "Let's Talk" button below


  • BT Vancouver, March 23, 2018 - Story on the 2018 Pride House and the charity auction

  • BT Vancouver, January 21, 2016 - Interview with Conni Smudge and Dean Nelson on Whistler Pride and Ski Festival

  • Shaw TV Sea to Sky, February 4, 2016 - Interview with Dean Nelson, Whistler Pride and Ski Festival

  • CBC News Network, May 9, 2015 - Interview with Andrew Nichols on Homophobia in Sports

  • Associated Press, February 25, 2010 - Johnny Weir, Mark Tewksbury and Dean Nelson on Homophobic Remarks at the Olympics

  • New York Times Video, A New Olympic Pride an Interview with Dean Nelson and Pride House 


  • Honorary Doctor of Laws (2018) Thompson Rivers 

  • Pioneer Award (2018) IGLTA - International Gay Lesbian Travel Association 
  • LGBT Tourism Leader of the Year (2017) Travel Gay Canada

  • Distinguished Alumni: Human Rights Leadership Award (2016) Thompson Rivers University

  • Award Winning Event Producer of the Annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival (2017, 2016)

  • Award Winning Event Producer of WinterPRIDE (2008, 2009, 2010) PlanetOUT / 

  • Resort Hotel Management Honours (1992) Thompson Rivers University

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