The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) is recognized on May 17 in many countries around the world. This recognition began in 2004 as an opportunity to draw attention to ongoing violence and discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics. While the date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s action in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder, sexual and gender diverse communities continue to face ongoing barriers in many aspects of Canadian society. This day is also an opportunity to celebrate the resilience, connections, and self-determination of 2SLGBTQ+ communities.
This year, the University of Toronto Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, in collaboration with the Indigenous Centre at UTM, UTSC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office, and the UTM Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office are proud to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia 2022 theme of Our Bodies. Our Lives. Our Rights. by welcoming powerful advocates and educators within and outside of 2SLGBTQ+ communities: Keith McCrady, Executive Director of 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations organization, and Monica Forrester, founder of Trans Pride Toronto.
Keith McCrady is an Ojibway and Cree from the Bear Clan who has worked with Indigenous families for over thirty years. Born in Thunder Bay and raised traditionally by both parents in Blinjitwaabik Zaaging Aaishinaabek (formerly Rocky Bay First Nation), Keith says that becoming a leader in his community was an integral part of Keith’s journey. As the Executive Director of the 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations, Keith's goal is to walk alongside the 2-Spirited, Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ community and provide them with the education and support to reclaim our place in the Circle.
Monica Forrester is a 2Spirit Trans women of colour, Clan in Bear and Spirit Name is Southern Eagle. Monica has worked for 23 years bringing awareness and visibility to Trans/2Spirit folx in Toronto and Canada. Monica’s work consists of bringing awareness to the stigma and discrimination many Trans/2Spirit folx face in society, in the services they access, and in the communities they identify with. Monica has also worked with Maggie's Toronto Sex Worker's Action Project for 13 years, managing the Indigenous program and outreach services that work to ensure that Sex Workers in Toronto have the services they need to stay safe and informed. Monica is also the founder of Trans Pride Toronto, Transitioning Together. They were the first Trans/2Spirit contingency to walk in the Annual Toronto Pride Parade in 2004, and also the first Trans-run agency that works to better lives of Trans/2Spirit Trans folx.
Please join this IDAHOTB event to witness a conversation between Keith and Monica who will be sharing their knowledge, wisdom, and experiences about the issues that continue for the 2SLGBTQ+ communities that they serve and the ongoing work that is needed to promote self-determination, equity, and well-being.
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