On Thursday, October 20, the Canada Post Community Foundation presented Maude Stephany, founder of TransArtivistProject, with a cheque for $5000 in support of programs that we will be running for the duration of 2022 and into 2023.
Our programs will continue to support Two-Spirit and trans-spectrum folks. We will be continuing to run the OUTLOUD program to support trans-spectrum folks who experience vocal dysphoria. We are hopeful that Knowledge-keeper and Ceremony Carrier Musko Giizhigo Ikwe will be able to return to her role in leading the Two-Spirit/Ally Sharing Circle soon.
In addition to our Queer Futures program which has taken place both in Haldimand-Norfolk and in Guelph, we are in the process of developing a program for folks who identify on the non-binary spectrum (ENBY, Gender-queer, Gender-fluid, for example). We are also looking to hire an Indigenous traditional artisan who would be willing to lead workshops for Two-Spirit folk to learn their cultural arts.
Thanks to the Canada Post Community Foundation, 2023 will be an amazing year that sees our programs continue to grow and to support more folks on the Two-Spirt and Transgender spectrum.
One of the things that is amazing about being part of community is the way that folks end up inspiring each other and holding each other up.
This happened several years ago when my wife met up with a friend who is a music director, pianist, vocalist, and vocal coach.
We were chatting about my wife's vocal dysphoria when our friend said something to the effect of "isn't there something out there to support trans folks through that?" Our answer, at the time, was No. There wasn't anything in our area, and there wasn't anything that didn't teach trans women to do crazy shit with their voices that might end up making them mute later on.
Our discussion eventually turned to what would it take to make that happen... and who would teach/support trans folks dealing with dysphoria. And that's how Vocal Validation came to be.
First, Katrina started taking classes with Emily Steers of Vocal Validation, to help her explore her voice and work through her dysphoria. As she continued her classes, Katrina became increasingly more comfortable with her voice and has since performed several times (online and in person).
TransArtivistProject and Vocal Validation have been working together now for almost a year, creating programs that support Two-Spirit and/or trans-spectrum folks with dysphoria. Sadly, our funding is running out for this program, and we will need additional support in order to be able to continue to offer our OUTLOUD program in future years. If you would like to support our work, please contact us through the Contact Us page.
As Musko Giizhigo Ikwe (Hollee George) is taking a break to focus on personal health and her education, our monthly Two-Spirit/Ally Sharing Circle will be taking a break.
While you're waiting for us to return, please check out Spectrum Waterloo's calendar of events. They hold a monthly All Nations Sharing Circle.
Next dates for their Sharing Circle are November 1, 2022 and December 6, 2022 from 7-9 PM ET. Make sure you subscribe to their newsletter, sign the agreement, and get the Zoom link for the next one so you can join in!
What does a queer-friendly future look like? That was the question that TransArtivistProject took to Pride Haldimand Norfolk's Pride 2022 celebration in Caledonia on May 28, 2022.
It was a great celebration, with performances of drag queens, Barney the purple dinosaur, Danny Diamond, and well-known public speakers that talked about the importance of being your authentic self. There was a photo booth, more than 30 vendors and community partners, and even Free Mom Hugs was there to support the community.
More than twenty individuals stopped by our tent and spent time creating art to share with the community. The completed images appear as part of a display that is currently making the rounds of the three branches of the Haldimand Norfolk Public Libraries.
TransArtivistProject has also created this beautiful poster which incorporates all of the images that were made, and gifted it to Pride Haldimand Norfolk to use in whatever way they see fit. "This is a local Pride project and belongs to the community" Maude Stephany said. "We're so happy that we were a part of this event, and look forward to returning again next year to make something wonderful with Pride Haldimand Norfolk for 2023."
On International Women's Day, many people forget about Trans Women. After all, biologically, some say, trans women are 'made, not born'.
But we know differently.
Trans Women experience many of the same systemic injustices that 'natural' women experience, and, I would argue, many more. Because not only are we criticized for being 'too girly' as 'boys' but also because we carry misogyny for ourselves within our bodies until we feel free enough to be our complete selves, however that looks.
We suffer under the scrutiny of our peers, worried that we may or may not pass, and the consequences of not passing are more than just a second glace or a glare. Sometimes these consequences include violence and abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, financial) and sometimes result in our death, either by our own hands or others'.
On this day, and every day, we must celebrate Trans Women in addition to the many cis-gendered women in our world. We must erase the biases that we have toward 'other women' - be they POC, Black, Indigenous, Muslim, Jewish, Two-Spirit. Trans, Bi, Pan, Poly, Ace, Intersex, disabled, whatever.
A world without bias, where all people are treated with equal respect, dignity, and given equal opportunities, is one which is socially just, and that is the type of world we want to live in.
In 2020, Anita Ayres and Elizabeth Trojian produced a 46 minute episode of OutSpoken, dealing with the question of what beauty could be from a transgender perspective.
Filmed in 2019 in Southern Ontario, the show, which can be viewed on OutTV, featured interviews with Gigi Gorgeous, Amelia Maltepe, and Claire Barnier, in addition to a plastic surgeon, a trans-health specialist and other area trans women.
One of the questions that came up was why trans women in particular felt the need to be beautiful
Many trans women said that being beautiful makes life easier for them to pass as a woman. Some were able to accomplish the look they wanted with makeup and hormones. Others decided that they needed something else: breast augmentation, hip augmentation, or perhaps even facial feminization. By being able to 'pass' they faced fewer problems societally and faced fewer difficulties in finding and keeping employment.
However, several of the women who were interviewed raised questions of 'whose idea of beauty are we aiming for' and 'is that really economically, physically, and psychologically viable for all transgender women?"
Just as other women, our bodies are all different. Some are short, some are tall. Some are thin, some are curvy. Some have short noses, others more angular. Some are hairy and some are not. There is no one 'standard of beauty.' Perhaps, as one woman stated, trans women will lead the way in creating new standards of beauty that allow for all of the great variety of our bodies to be seen as beautiful. It's certainly something that I dream of.
What about you? What does beauty mean to you?
TransArtivistProject.org - Call for Board Members
TransArtivistProject.org is looking for two Board Members for our new non-profit organization.
We are an organization that works to support individuals on the trans spectrum using a community model and employing arts-based practice.
What we need from you:
Treasurer must have a firm grasp of managing the financial records of the organization. The Treasurer will co-sign, with the Director, for cheques made out to presenters, keep a record of money received and spent, and will preferably live near Guelph, Ontario.
Archivist/Recorder must be present at each meeting and take note of important decisions made by the board. They are also responsible for archiving information about TransArtivistProject.org so that we have records of all our decisions and previous actions.
What we offer:
While we will consider all applicants, we will privilege applicants that are BIPOC and on the Two-Spirit/Trans spectrum (trans, intersex, nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, genderfluid, etc.) and preferably in the Guelph, Ontario area.
Applications are being accepted until October 1, 2021.
Please send your resume and cover letter to
We all make mistakes. The trick is learning from them.
One of the things we learned with our Paint Pour Project was that we have caused harm to some of our Indigenous folk in the community with the way in which we approached our Land Acknowledgement during our event.
Some felt that we treated it like it was an onerous task and done begrudgingly.
Others stated that they didn't like how we put the onus on non-Indigenous people to figure out what they wanted to do to create a more socially just community that acknowledges Indigenous sovereignty and rights.
We are very sorry for the harm that we have caused these individuals, and are in the process of doing a number of things to show our commitment to acting like an ally with Indigenous peoples.
We have offered some of our personal items up for auction for the benefit of several organizations and communities that do work with 1492 Landback as well as Two-Spirit organizations in Ontario. We have financially donated to these (and other) organizations. We have participated in workshops/discussions with Two-Spirit individuals and listened to what they want within those discussions.
We are currently working on putting together a Land Acknowledgement that we hope that our community will feel honours the land and the people who have been its stewards for centuries. At the same time, we will continue to invite participants in our workshops to read a portion of the 94 Calls to Action and choose one way that they can support Indigenous Sovereignty, Rights, and social justice. In so doing, we hope that we can foster a better relationship with Two-Spirit and Indigenous trans-folk.