Thursday’s Trans Youth March and Social was the first seperate event the trans community has had at Kelowna Pride. (Brian Webb - HomoCulture)

Trans event at Pride gives marginalized youth a community, says director

The Trans Youth March and Social participants rallied on Thursday, June 20.

Thursday’s Youth Trans March was a milestone for young people struggling with their gender identities, and the LGBTQ2+ community as a whole.

Last year, director of education and LGBTQ2+ youth initiatives at Kelowna Pride, Davina Kula, created a program called Etcetera, which was comprised of members between the ages of 11 and 17 who have had a lived experience with being transgender.

In between the trenches of precarious non-profit funding, the group would meet in a peer-support setting with clinical supervision to talk about the social issues and stigma that comes with being trans, along with their individual struggles as a trans person.

“Safe places for LGBTQ2+ kids are just not set up within our society, within our structure,” Kula said. “As long as kids are hearing those messages of hate and exclusion, (having a safe community) is that much more important.”

READ MORE: Kelowna Rotary Centre flies pride, trans flag during Youth Trans March

READ MORE: B.C. human rights tribunal rules anti-transgender poster campaign discriminatory

Now, after Kula can “happily say” the program is sustainable, with funding from groups such as Kelowna Women in Business and Trans Care BC, the Etcetera team along with partners had the fiscal and physical ability to bring together an event for those who are discriminated and neglected.

“I think it’s important for the them to see who their village is,” Kula said. “Because everyone needs a village and these kids are leading the way.”

READ MORE: Peak Pride paints rainbow on Big White Ski Resort

One of those leaders is Thai August, a 19-year-old trans person and the lived experience peer youth facilitator at Etcetera.

“Just having one day where trans people can get together and they can feel safe in a group, it honestly helps so much with getting through those day-to-day conflicts,” August said. “Just knowing that there are others and that you’re not the only one going through it.”

August said they have gone, and currently still go through bouts with transphobics, family, friends and greater society but has managed to enter a place in their personal journey that grants the ability to help others.

Between 2016 and 2017, 75 per cent of surveyed Canadian transgender youth reported self-harming and at least about 33 per cent had attempted suicide, according to UBC’s Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre.

Kula is quick to remind the public about how imperative it is to support and accept these young people for who they.

“The kids are listening,” she said. “And words can kill.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

READ MORE: For trans people, gender-swap photo filters are no mere game


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Serious injuries sustained in Highway 1 collisions west of Salmon Arm

Air ambulance needed at two accident scenes that closed highway Monday evening

Update: Lakeshore Drive open following single-vehicle collision

Traffic being diverted to 10th Avenue NE as emergency crews respond

Fines approved for Salmon Arm panhandling bylaw

Mayor and council stress fines to be issued as last resort

Salmon Arm council supports increase to development service fees

Bylaw enables city to recover more of the cost related to staff time

Salmon Arm students hone acting chops in Haney whodunnit

Local talent brings Mystery of Dutch Charlie to life at RJ Haney Heritage Village

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Kelowna baby snatcher pleads guilty

Harold Giffen Clarkson Nyren is sentenced to two years probation

BC Cancer Agency refuses to release audit’s critical findings, but discloses ‘positive’ findings

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions of cancer agency’s triage audit

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

LETTER: Diversity includes Canadians with views different from prime minister

Writer delves into Canadian beliefs, morality, family as foundation of society

Vehicle collides into Okanagan home and drives away

Fencing, landscaping suffer significant damage and minor injury to house on Vernon’s Okanagan Avenue

Big Wreck announces two Okanagan shows

The American-Canadian band will be playing in Vernon and Kelowna on Oct. 29 and Nov. 3

Letter: Go back to drawing board on Highway 1/Balmoral Road intersection

Open letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, on behalf of… Continue reading

Kelowna paddling team raises breast cancer awareness for 20 years

“Bust ‘N Loose” cancer survivors take on the waters worldwide for breast cancer research

Most Read