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Queer and Trans Canadians on Canada 150 | Flygirl

Posted by Mandy Randhawa on June 27, 2017

What Canada 150 Means to 7 Queer & Trans Canadians (Pt 1)

With July 1 coming up, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about Canada 150. It’s a big milestone and despite our glowing reputation for being progressive and multicultural, we still have a long way to go.

This Canada Day, we wanted to tell the story of Canada from the perspectives of seven Canadians in our community. It is important to us that we share Indigenous stories, lesbian stories, queer stories, trans stories, and immigrant stories. It’s easy to listen to our own voices and voices that agree with us. It is much harder to listen to the ones that are harder to relate to, that speak uncomfortable truths.

But we should. After all, we’re Canadian.

Meet Easton Quesnel, a queer trans Canadian.

Easton queer trans Canadian

When I think about what it means to be transgender and Canadian, all I can think of is support. Any clinic I’ve gone to, any pharmacy to pick up supplies needed to fulfil my weekly routine. I feel blessed to say that I haven’t gone through many downs when it comes to being transgender.

In Canada, healthcare is there for you, starting hormones was easy and accessible for when I needed it. There are lists for different surgeries where you can put your name down and you don’t need to pay out of pocket if you can manage to be patient enough. I’d say that Canada is doing it right. Bill C-16 was just passed as well, so I am officially recognized as a real human with rights. Being transgender, everyone has their own personal battles and it isn’t always easy, but it’s me.

Meet Yasaman Gheidi (@lilmoonchildd), a queer Iranian Canadian

Yasaman queer Iranian Canadian Lilimoonchild

As a queer Iranian-Canadian woman I have had many very different experiences because of my gender, sexuality and ethnicity. I am not only a woman just as I am not only queer or Iranian. Instead, I am made up of all these different parts and so many more. I am grateful to call Canada home as I can openly identify as a queer person without fear of imprisonment or death.

Canada opened its arms to me so that I too can live a life as a person that deserves respect, equality and freedom. I often miss my culture, it’s heartbreaking and a struggle to stay connected to so much that makes me Iranian. I hope that one day no person will be forced to leave their home because of sexual orientation. I hope that we, as Canadians, continue to embrace and celebrate each person’s uniqueness as it is our strength. Today, I celebrate being a queer Iranian-Canadian woman.

Meet Riki, a gay/lesbian Two-spirit Canadian.

Riki Rocket lesbian two spirit dj

Originally from British Columbia, I am Syilx (Interior Salish) and Suyápix (Euro-Canadian) and identify as gay or lesbian. In my daily life I encompass gender roles of both men and women. In Indigenous culture that can be referred to as Two-spirited, which is not only limited to masculine and feminine spirits but also to human spirits or contrasting animal spirits as well. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I feel safe, proud and supported 90% of the time. Unfortunately, as a member of a First Nation, I cannot say the same. I have experienced a wide range of racist comments, insults, tasteless jokes and insensitive or dismissive comments to my face or about Indigenous people of our country. It’s great that Canada is so accepting of its LGBTQ community, but it is a very sad state of affairs and lack of history education, awareness and respect when it comes to its aboriginal people.

Pt 2 with more profiles here.

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