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

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Vernon

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to town Sunday

SS Freestyle seeks new home in Vernon for fall 2020

Trampoline regulations have forced freestyle club out of its current bounce house

Armstrong fair chooses 2020 theme

All things vegetable to be celebrated in 2020 with the theme Our Roots Run Deep

Drug stores team up for Vernon hospital foundation

Burger and beer fundraiser to raise cash to help women’s health

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray wins Kelowna-Lake Country

The Canadian Press declared her the winner around 8:30 p.m.

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Former Mount Boucherie teacher Bradley Furman will be sentenced on Dec. 16

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

Most Read