While March is drifting in like a lamb, both Simply Good Form and Pflag Halifax has been working like lions. This past month was filled with youth-friendly inclusion-fostering events; inspiring meaningful conversations towards ending gender-based stigma.
The idea of 'March coming in like a lion or a lamb,' made me think about the origin of my child's name this morning. When my transgender son transitioned at the age of 10-years-old, aside from his hair having slowly transitioned from long waves to shorter, cropped and masculine; choosing his new name became top priority to help him truly align as the person he is.
We arrived at a derivative of his former family nickname to be his new name.
At the time, we hadn't looked more deeply into its meaning, other than, like many transgender young children, the first letter of his birth name helped to lead the process of finding a new name. That and ensuring he had ownership in choosing his new name.
About a month after his new name took hold and family members were informed, he received a thoughtful letter and package from his God-Mother in Dublin, Ireland.
In this package was an Dublin football jersey with his name on the back and a letter, where she wrote about the history of his new chosen name.
His name comes from an Irish surname meaning 'like a son',
but in French baby names, the meaning of his name is: Like a lion.
In Welsh it means, 'born near the sea' and in American, 'faithful'.
Turns out, he had been wearing this name well before he took it on officially. Born by the Irish seaside, he was truly always our son, we just didn't know it at the time.
I believe the universe speaks to us; revealing varying path choices at different moments in our lives. The importance of listening and being open can provide us with opportunities to move towards greatness -- our full potential.
The lion in him has helped him endure many hardships since his transition.
Lack of representation in school creates a challenge for many trans and non-binary children. For anyone who knows my kiddo, he is a faithful friend and brother and his fortitude in standing by who he truly is, in the wake of having to defend his humanity almost every single day, is a tribute to his inner strength.
Why does it have to be so hard for them?
2020 Inclusive Schools Read Nova Scotia
Events like '2020 Inclusive Schools Read Nova Scotia' provide a welcoming platform to introduce students to the reality that gender is simply not binary; and that trans and gender diverse children deserve spaces in our classrooms.
I met a mom at MSVU who asked me if we were involved with an inclusive reading event. She said with pride, that her daughter had come home from school that day and said,
'Mom, did you know that some children may be born boys but they are not really a boy.' And she talked to her mom about the gender stories she'd heard. Her mom told me, she was grateful to hear her child educating her about something so important.
Children are listening.
Thank you to all the schools who participated and began conversations with their students that will inevitable lead to these spaces. Thanks PRIDE Lunenburg and BriAnna Simons Thereupeutic Services for supporting the event.
We had schools almost all over Nova Scotia: Cape Breton Island, the Valley, South Shore, Halifax, Eastern Shore and Amherst area and more than 2,000 students involved!
Halifax North Memorial Library Drag Queen Story Time
To the delight of children at Halifax North Memorial Library, Queen Vanity spent a fun hour with Pflag Halifax reading inclusive stories with puppets, donuts and questions.
They heard...to name a few.... "I Love My Purse," written by a Nova Scotia student author; 'It Feels Good To Be Yourself," by Author Theresa Thorn and 'I Feel Like A Fox,' written by Danielle Daniel, an introduction to the Anishinaabe tradition of totem animals where young children explain why they identify with different creatures such as a deer, beaver or moose.
Thanks to Author Theresa Thorn for supporting our event.
LGBTQ Youth Self Defence Took Kit Workshop
PRIDE Lunenburg and Pflag Halifax hosted a self defence toolkit workshop with Rob Carr. It was a great morning where kids learned conflict resolution skills and built confidence to own their spaces.
Thanks The Bicycle Lunchbox for donating the baked goods for our event!
Bullying is a reality for many trans and non-binary youth. High rates of suicide, anxiety and depression plague gender diverse students.
Areas like bathrooms and quiet hallways can be highly vulnerable spaces for children.
In Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults (15-34 years). Suicide rates are approx. 3x higher among men compared to women and currently the highest rate in Canada is amongst the transgender men/boys people of colour (BIPOC) population.
Looking from an intersectional perspective, transitioning for a child can be extremely stressful, depending upon the child's support structures, peer dynamics and school environment.
Add to this, the additional marginality of race and colour, ethnic backgrounds and transitioning and living authentically for trans children of colour carries its own unique heightened levels of vulnerability and isolation
Intersections of Transitioning and Trans and Non-Binary Youth
On Trans Day of Visibility, when we remember the trans lives that have been lost in the past year, Canada appears to have a clean slate.
But how clean are we really?
Taken from the Wabanaki Two Spirit Alliance (W2SA) received an Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network Atlantic Research Centre (UAKN) research grant to conduct a study on the coming out processes of Two Spirits in Atlantic Canada.
In 2010, one Atlantic Mi’kmaw community shared that at least four out of the ten (4/10) suicides were LGBTQ or Two Spirits in that community alone.
You can read more about this study by following the link above.
It is important our province takes a deeper examination of all intersectional perspectives to better understand what is happening to support all trans and non-binary youth in Nova Scotia.
Along with Kaylee Fox, this month we welcomed Isaac Cook to our Inclusion Team!
Isaac will also be co-facilitating our Pflag monthly meetings and specializes in youth inclusion education at our school workshops. Welcome Isaac!
BriAnna Simons and I had the opportunity to talk Gender with CBC's Information Morning on February 20th. Listen to conversation or read the story here.
'Navigating parenthood with transgender or gender diverse children can be challenging. We hear about a growing support group on the South Shore that's connecting families and educating the community.'
'Simons's child was four years old when she identified as transgender. Now, at age six, she's thriving, said Simons, who credits the group with helping her create a supportive environment at home.'
For businesses and schools who've attended our training workshop, check up the updated PDFs and resources on the Members page. If you've lost your password, connect with us.
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March is a time of renewal. Renewal of energy, of life. A time for new beginnings.
Happy March and summoning your inner lion!
Living beyond binary and inclusively yours,