Monday, July 16, 2012

Trans Pride in Newfoundland 7/16/2012

History was made today in St. John's, NL as what appears to be the first ever trans-specific pride week event in our province, took place on the doorstep of the Colonial Building.  After being taken off the speaking agenda at St. John's Pride Inc.'s official flag-raising event at City Hall, apparently at the expense of letting more politicians have time to speak, I took it upon myself to book a Trans Pride Flag 'Waving' event.

Even without the support or acknowledgement of the official Pride org, I managed to not only attract a crowd that contained other members of the LGB and T community, heterosexual allies, but the media as well. Although the head count was only 7 in total, that didn't dampen my spirits or the other 6 attendees. 

It was a great honour to stand up in front of a group of transpeople and supporters to talk publicly in detail about the impact faced by the trans community over the lack of explicit human rights protection, and dealing with a health care funding program that is 16 years out of date.

After the formalities, the group broke into a lovely casual round-table discussion that lasted almost an hour. 

The local newspaper, the Telegram, conducted a 15 minute interview with me, where I spoke about everything from trans issues; to my very public spats with certain lesbian/gay community leaders, the health care system, the human rights system; and the evolution of St. John's Pride Inc. and my departure from said organization.

One of the big highlights for me was the presence of Sarah Downey (depicted with me), a long-time acquaintance, and sometimes foe. Sarah co-chaired Pride Week in this City the year before St. John's Pride Inc. was established, and she at one point, became an interim Board member of Pride Inc, while the organization was operational under my leadership. Sarah and I have had many passionate debates and disagreements about far too many LGBT issues to list, but one thing that appears to have always been there, is mutual respect. She is a true ally of the trans community and a strong leader who is never afraid to stand up for what she believes in, no matter what.

A video recording of my speech, as well as a vlog, will be posted online tomorrow.

1 comment:

Sarah Downey said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Jennifer! It was an honour to help you make history within our beautiful city today! We have, in the past, had our disagreements, but the one thing we can agree on is that this province as a whole needs to do more to protect it's trans citizens. I want to thank you for your continued determination and dedication to trans advocacy, as well as the unfaltering respect you've shown me over the years. You have, even under incredible external pressure, always stayed true to yourself and your example has definitely helped me feel comfortable with my own presentation and gender identity as well as opened up my mind to a diverse and beautiful community within our society! I am inspired by your personal journey and I wish you the best in this new chapter of your life!