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    OP-ED

    Op-Ed

    Fifty-four years ago, civil rights movement icon and intellectual forebear Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the Massey Lectures in Toronto, months before his assassination, describing Canada as a “heaven” of racial harmony.

    Teneshia T. Samuel shares their struggle as a Queer Christian, and journey to self-acceptance in the wake of Canada’s new law, which makes conversion therapy illegal. “It's still a sin," she said to me, with a cold, flat, emotionless sense of patronizing endearment. Her well-meaning tone felt like daggers. We sat in the kitchen of our campus dorm apartment in the entanglement of a heart-to-heart conversation. I had just come out to her as bisexual (at the time). She was a sister, a spiritual partner with whom I led a campus ministry. 

    I'm no gatekeeper of Queer identities, and I would never speak on who is permitted to operate within Queer space; however, when news headlines steer attention toward a cis-gendered straight man as a novel addition to RuPaul’s Drag Race - while ignoring the equally novel fact that two Black trans women were also cast in this widely celebrated Queer program, I am cautious to embrace this casting move as equitable and progressive. Rather, I view it as a move that centers conversation on a privileged identity. 

    At 45 years old, it is hard to believe that my breast cancer journey has already been a long one. It started when I had my first breast cyst removed from my right breast when I was only 14 years old. As a result of the lumpectomy, I had a raised scar on my areola. It was a constant reminder that something about my breasts was never quite right. Yet the scars were so much more than physical. I still have flashbacks of the experience. I painfully recall having to disrobe before older white male doctors and having them poke…

    Black trans communities are full of joy, possibility, magic and….yes….laughter. We laugh together, deep belly laughs. We laugh fiercely in the face of transphobia, sure, but sometimes we just laugh at funny things- non-trans-related things- too! Imagine. I have sat with my other Black trans kin and have felt laughter so deeply. We laugh- when things are funny. 

    The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) and the Environics Institute for Survey Research have released a nationwide survey sponsored by Pfizer Canada, which confirms “the reality and scope of racism in Canada and its effects on Canada’s racialized population.” The researchers write that while most Canadians feel that “race relations both in the country and in their local community are generally good, they are less likely to believe this than two years ago. This worsening perspective is most significant for Black Canadians (49% of whom now say race relations are generally good, down 23% from 2019), and just over half…

    Like most people, last week I watched Dave Chappelle’s new special The Closer on Netflix to see what everyone was talking about. As someone who is considered Black Excellence, when Chappelle releases a special, Black folk will clear their day to see what this legend is making jokes about now. I was disappointed and confused as I watched the special and listened to Chappelle go on and on about his feelings toward the LGBTQ+ community, and how he felt they had a deep dislike for him. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I had no idea there had ever…

    In two posts that came up recently in my Facebook “memories”, I talk about my Blackness. In one, I discussed being asked, "how do I like Canada?" When I informed this person of the fact I am Canadian and have been so my whole life, they replied, they “didn’t know I was."

    When I was two years old, my mom brought me to Highfield Square Mall on Main Street in Moncton, New Brunswick to get my first pair of big girl panties.

    We’re tired.  Tired of having to be twice as good, for half the recognition. Soon Trudeau will put together his third Cabinet, and this time he needs to put a Black woman in that Cabinet. There are a couple to choose from, but he really should consider Arielle Kayabaga, MP for London West.

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