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Category Archives: Gender Identity

Facilitator of Okanagan Gender Identity Group Speaks About Transgender Awareness

During this Transgender Awareness Week (2nd week in November) James Sieben interviewed Jade Walters, the facilitator of the Okanagan Gender Identity Group.

Jade Walters (she/they) is a trans woman and current facilitator of the Okanagan Gender Identity Group. She is a passionate, grassroots organizer that has provided gender diverse people across the Okanagan with one of the only safe spaces for expression and support.

For this article, I asked her, “what is something you want cis people to know about trans people?” Her response is poignant, insightful, and optimistic while still entrenched in the reality that much work is needed for trans rights, as well as within the trans community itself:

Transness affects many people in complex ways. For many trans people, it results in a fear of public visibility so great that it is hard to leave the house. For others, this public visibility (and trans existence in general) results in dependence upon substances, sex trade, and other illicit economies.

This is in part due to the difficulty involved in being trans in public. Not only is it more difficult to secure a job as a visibly trans person, but for those of us who transition before establishing a career, it often means working in high-visibility environments such as retail and fast food. For many of us, then, our ability to work becomes dependent upon how much harassment and fear of harassment we are able to withstand – thus leading to substance use, illicit economies, and homelessness.

If one wants to be “aware” of trans people, one has to be aware of more than just those few and successful trans people who have established careers, as this is not the case for most. One has to be aware of the trans people living in poverty, the trans people who are dependent upon others for their survival, and the trans people who live in the kind of mental illness where fear of leaving the house and being seen by others genuinely affects their ability to function on a day-to-day level.

In order for this to be effectively combatted, I believe the community has to come together. Funding is required for community initiatives that allow trans folks to support each other. Mental and physiological healthcare services need to be funded and also made searchable, perhaps by aggregating such services in easily-findable community directories. And additionally, there needs to be long-term services and community spaces made available for trans people beyond just their first year of transition, as being trans does not suddenly become easy upon acquiring hormones and coming out publicly.

Rather, it is my experience as a trans woman several years into transition that the difficulties of transition accrue over time, like sediment. Even if we grow accustomed to these difficulties, it doesn’t stop them from weighing on us, and even as I find myself adapting to these things, I continuously find myself noticing new struggles and limitations from existing as a trans person in this community.

I want to reiterate that the only way I believe these struggles can be effectively combatted is by direct community action in a “do it yourself” style. As trans people, we have the capability to support each other, to organize together, and to create places of mutual support and joy. Kelowna does not have to be a desert in terms of the trans community – all we have to do is stop waiting for someone to come along and start it for us. All we have to do is employ a do-it-yourself mentality.

The community is here – all it has to do is come together.

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What’s Happening this week in the Okanagan! Nov 16 – Nov 22, 2020


Monday, November 16 – Basically Ella – The 10-minute Face, 12:30 pm, hosted by Unicorns.LIVE and presented by Ella Lamoureux ~ Online

Put on that face in 10-minutes or less! Whether you’re a novice or expert, Ella will show you how to accentuate all your best features with The 10-Minute Face. Perfect for those looking to just wear light makeup, or for those just looking for a place to start!

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Monday, November 16 – A Sip With Sparkle – Autumnal Aperitifs, 7 pm – 7:45 pm, hosted by Unicorns.LIVE, and supported by Friends of Dorothy Lounge and Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery ~ Kelowna and Online

The days have become shorter and cooler, with nighttime perfect for snuggling up next to an adult beverage to keep you warm and toasted…er, toasty! On this episode of A Sip With Sparkle, our cocktail queen Sparkle is joined by Ella Lamoreaux to guide you through crafting some fantastic liquid fall fare, the “Harvest Mule” and “Spiced Gin Sangria”. Both drinks are Sparkle’s spins on classics that will be sure to warm you from head to toe!

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Tuesday, November 17 – Gender Identity Group ~ Online

This is a positive, safe, inclusive, supportive space for, gender non-conforming, non-binary, transsexual, transgender, gender queer inter-sexed or questioning (or any variation there of under the rainbow spectrum) people living in or near Kelowna or the Okanagan are to discuss matters and various topics while providing and obtaining peer support.

We meet every Tuesday from 6-8 via Discord.

For more information on this group meeting, please join the Gender Identity Group on Facebook.


Wednesday, November 18 – QUSIC – 7 pm – 8:30 pm, featuring Leila Neverland, hosted by Unicorns.LIVE, and supported by Friends of Dorothy Lounge and Creative BC

Raised by a Persian Zoroastrian villager, a family of Jewish immigrants, and a drag queen uncle, artist and mother Leila Neverland (she/her/hers) knows a few things about diversity, inclusivity, and unconditional love. She weaves an ambiance of true togetherness at every live performance and offers timely reflections of all that is life, death, and the decolonization of our collective consciousnesses.

Neverland’s emotive energetic authenticity inspires pure joy, empowered rage, and healthful tears as she leaves audiences breathless and full. Her exquisite voice joins the ranks of those who inspire her like Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Bjork, Lady Gaga, and Amy Winehouse. She is currently working on a few singles, a couple music videos, and an album in beautiful BC, where she resides with her two children and her cat, Georgie.

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Friday, November 20 – Drag Show, featuring Ella Lamoureux, 8 pm presented and hosted by Friends of Dorothy Lounge

To find out more, follow the link to Friends of Dorothy Lounge


Saturday, November 21 – Drag Show, featuring Valerie Rose, 8 pm presented and hosted by Friends of Dorothy Lounge

To find out more, follow the link to Friends of Dorothy Lounge


Sunday, November 22 – Drag Brunch, featuring Ella Lamoureux, hosted by Friends of Dorothy Lounge ~ Kelowna

Get ready for a #SundayFunday. The drag is here!

Come out and see #kelownassweetheart at our Friends of Dorothy Sunday Drag Brunch (by reservation only). Kelowna’s original @kaskakween, the incomparable Ella Lamourex, takes us over the rainbow every Sunday.

Two seatings available.
Seating begins at 11am for the 12pm show
& the seating for 2pm show begins at 1pm.

Tickets are $30 per person and include:

One mimosa or one caesar AND choice of dish from our brunch menu.

CALL TO RESERVE! For more info, follow the link to Friends of Dorothy Lounge


Sunday, November 22 – Women’s Walking Group, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, presented by Kelowna Rainbow Women

This will be a bi-weekly walking group for women in Kelowna’s LGBTQ2+ community. This is a walk, not a hike on flat, even terrain.

This event is for all cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in the space that centres around the experiences of women.

For information regarding this event, please join our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kelownarainbowwomen/

Breast Reduction Surgery for Non-Binary People Covered in Nova Scotia

Following a human rights complaint by a non-binary individual, Nova Scotia now covers breast reduction surgery for non-binary people.

In a physician’s bulletin on Nov. 4, MSI said the Department of Health and Wellness “has added the diagnosis of Persistent and Well Documented Gender Dysphoria to the list of criteria for MSI coverage for a breast reduction.” 

The change, effective Nov. 2., came following a complaint last fall to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission from Sebastian Gaskarth, who is non-binary.

Alex CookeCBC News

To read more of this story, follow the link to CBC News


(Image Credit: Stock photo)

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What’s Happening this week in the Okanagan! Nov 9 – Nov 15, 2020


Monday, November 9 – Basically Ella – False Eyelash Application, 12:30 pm, hosted by Unicorns.LIVE and presented by Ella Lamoureux ~ Online

Only the very fortunate are blessed with naturally thick and full eyelashes. Anyone can apply falsies, but not everyone does it well. Enter Ella and her tried and true method of applying false lashes that are undeniably glamorous.

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Tuesday, November 10 – Gender Identity Group ~ Online

This is a positive, safe, inclusive, supportive space for, gender non-conforming, non-binary, transsexual, transgender, gender queer inter-sexed or questioning (or any variation there of under the rainbow spectrum) people living in or near Kelowna or the Okanagan are to discuss matters and various topics while providing and obtaining peer support.

We meet every Tuesday from 6-8 via Discord.

For more information on this group meeting, please join the Gender Identity Group on Facebook.


Wednesday, November 11 – Connections Online, 6 pm – 7:30 pm, hosted by Health Initiative for Men ~ Online

Want to expand your social network and connect with other GBT2Q people?
Connections is a group for guys 19+ to come together to talk about life experiences, connect with peers and build a circle of support. Come as you are, bring a friend, and your ideas.

This is an online event via Zoom App. To register, please follow the link below:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqf–qpz0sHdLaxEPiukVledna87tiA9QD

For more information, please e-mail register@checkhimout.ca.

Participation is free, or by donation

This group is open to self-identified men (trans, cis, and other men), two-spirit and non-binary folks who also identify as gay, bi, queer, asexual, and/or as guys who are into/or have sex with guys (for any reason – including for work).


Thursday, November 12 – Sasha and Ella Show – Kath & Kim, hosted by Friends of Dorothy Lounge

The Sasha & Ella Show @fodlounge starts this month!!! Serving comedy, drag and SEX every second Thursday night starting on Nov.12th! Book your tables now cuz yes, it’s true, we popular… There’s a first time for everything right? So the exciting thing is every show will be themed and will include multimedia comedy, skits, drag numbers and LOTS of audience interaction.

The theme of the first show is ‘Kath & Kim’ so go watch it now if you haven’t (it’s on Netflix) and be sure to invite your Aussie friends!


Sunday, November 15 – Drag Brunch, featuring Ella Lamoureux, hosted by Friends of Dorothy Lounge ~ Kelowna

Get ready for a #SundayFunday. The drag is here!

Come out and see a show at Friends of Dorothy Drag Brunch (by reservation only). Seating begins at 11am followed by the performance at 12pm.

Tickets are $30 per person and include:
One mimosa or one Caesar AND an item from our brunch menu

CALL TO RESERVE! For more info go to: https://www.fodlounge.com/


Sunday, November 15 – TransParent Okanagan Meeting, hosted by TransParent Okanagan ~ Online

TransParent provides community consultation, advising and advocacy on issues related to families of trans youth. They also operate a peer support network, monthly meetings, guest speakers and a lending library of books, videos and other resources.

TransParent Okanagan meets regularly the third Sunday of every month. To find out more, check out their Facebook Page

Transgender Women Are Barred by World Rugby

Four women’s rugby powers, the United States, England, Canada and Australia, said they would ignore the ban when holding domestic competitions. New Zealand is expected to follow suit.

In a sport that had embraced athletes of different sizes, shapes, abilities and gender identities, McKenzie and other transgender ruggers felt blindsided in recent months when word spread that World Rugby planned to exclude transgender women from women’s teams at top international events, even though none yet are known to have played at the sport’s highest levels.

GILLIAN R. BRASSIL AND JERÉ LONGMANThe New York Times

To read more of this story, follow the link to The Baltimore Sun


(Image Credit: iStock)