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Category Archives: Transgender

Research On Transgender People and Sport

Vancouver Island University conducting a study entitled “Sex Segregation and the Participation of Transgender Adults in Recreational Sport”.

The study has been approved by the VIU’s Research Ethics Board. The purpose of the study is to: 1) determine how transgender adults’ participation in recreational sports in BC, Canada is informed by their experiences with the sex-based segregation structure in recreational sport; and 2) make recommendations for an enhanced and intentional transgender inclusive policy-related change in terms of the sex-based segregation structure in recreational sport in BC, Canada.

Contact: Tung Nguyen at sontung.nguyen@viu.ca

Trans Mentorship Program Launched at UBC(O)

Students bring a trans mentorship program to the university campuses of UBC and UBCO.

Fourth-year students Alex Gonzalez and Kip Chow, along with a few other students from the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, have launched the faculty-sponsored Trans Mentorship Program. With about 30 students signing up as either mentors or mentees, Gonzalez said he created this initiative as an opportunity for trans students to meet each other in a comfortable setting.

Bernard OrdizThe Ubessey

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


(Image Credit: Thomas O’Donnell)

‘Clothes Minded’ a Series to Help Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Find Their Look

Partners Fuse, OUTtv and Vice Studios will film eight episodes on location in the US and Canada.

Lucas Silveira and Richie Shazam host the Fuse, OUTtv and Vice Studios co-production as it helps young trans and gender nonconforming people find a unique look to celebrate their true selves.

Fuse Media has boarded the transgender makeover series Clothes Minded as a co-production partner along with Canadian LGBTQ+ TV channel OUTtv and Vice Studios, ahead of an early 2021 premiere on both sides of the border.

Etan Vlessing – The Hollywood Reporter

To read more of this story, follow the link to The Hollywood Reporter


(Image Credit: Courtesy of Vice Studios)

Leigh Jarrett: Reinvigorating Romantic Fiction


So Long, Fabio:
Leigh Jarrett is serving up Queer Romantic Fiction for a New Audience With an Insatiable Appetite.


Traditional Romantic Fiction tends to conjure up the same image: yellowed and water-stained paperback novels, the covers of which feature The Bronzed and Chiseled Male Figure clutching in his bulging half-human/half-simian arms The Swept Away Female Figure. Her ample, milky white bosoms are so dangerously close to tumbling out of the torn bed sheet she’s haphazardly thrown on; her breasts glow and heave, as the Male’s throbbing manhood is undoubtedly pressed fervently against her hungry mound. The Male, who oozes testosterone and a litany of other injectables, gazes intensely at his Female prize, whose face wears a mask of mid-orgasm-delirium meets a did-I-leave-the-oven-on? look of confusion and fear (lest she burn the meatloaf). 

As surely as this trope persists, it’s refreshing to know that the genre is enjoying a breath of fresh, queer air thanks to literary minds like those of Taysha Jarrett. This is not your Aunt Martha’s Romantic Fiction. Then again, maybe it should be?  

Taysha Jarrett (she/he/they), who publishes under the nom de plume ‘Leigh Jarrett’, began writing Romantic Fiction for the LGBT2Q+ community 10 years ago. An unabashedly queer, quirky, and passionate author of LGBT2Q+ Romantic Fiction, her books embrace the full spectrum of the rainbow. Taysha’s published contemporary works include gritty and angst-filled romances featuring gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer characters, with plans for a lesbian romance in the future. And her fantasy series, “Drakkar Coven”, is brimming with lust driven vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters. 

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Tree hugger at heart. 💕

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Using a pseudonym isn’t unusual for authors; in Taysha’s case, however, there were some personal and maternal concerns about writing the type of romantic fiction she began to pen. 

“When I started writing my kids were very young,” explains Jarrett. “I didn’t want the parents of other kids at school to find out what I did for a living.” Taysha was still in a hetero marriage at the time, and even though her then-husband was supportive of her artistic pursuits, the worry was for the welfare of their children. “Kids are bullied enough,” she continues. “It was a non-issue for (my then-spouse), but I didn’t want anything brought down on the kids.” 

Taysha, who is austistic, was bullied as a child for her difference from others. Writing and publishing LGBT2Q+ Romantic Fiction has given her the opportunity to express her uniqueness within the LGBT2Q+ community that she calls home. Her books highlight the struggles of those who identify as LGBT2Q+, while celebrating their diversity and affirming the most basic of human rights: to love and be loved.

In the end, ironically it was their daughter that spilled the beans. Jarrett reveals with a proud laugh, “Yeah, my daughter just kind of ended up telling everyone anyway. Like kind of a ‘hey, guess what my Mom does kind of thing’…and in the end, no one said anything about it.” 

A favourable outcome, to be sure: there wasn’t any backlash, and she nor the children were ostracized. It may now seem like unfounded concern, but queer Romantic Fiction isn’t necessarily as widely known or accepted as it’s cis and hetero predecessor. 

When asked about the main source from which she draws her inspiration for characters and story arcs, Jarrett reveals simply, “From life. I watch interactions between people, observe what they do, where they are doing it…in everyday life…and I wonder ‘What if’.”

Rather than two-dimensional stereotypes, her subjects are also fully realized characters who aren’t solely defined by their sexuality or gender identity, who Jarrett strongly feels have experienced real-life situations as they may relate to those in the LGBT2Q+ community.


Case in point: the inspiration for one of her novels, Shadows On My Soul, came from watching construction workers around town. The creative cogs began turning as she wondered ‘what if’ any of these guys decided they had a ‘thing’ for each other; and, ‘what if’ they began exploring that attraction? And, ‘what if’ one of those men were sexually assaulted by another man? What then? The narrative of Shadows On My Soul follows the story of Derek and Justin, who fall for one another and begin a romance. Derek identifies as gay, while Justin identifies as bisexual; Justin is sexualy assaulted, which leaves the two at odds and leaves the new relationship hanging in the balance as they struggle to deal with the fallout. 

“It’s not widely known, but 1 out of 25 reported rapes are committed against men,” explains Jarrett. “Seventy-five percent of the book sale proceeds went to a sexual assault hotline when it first came out. I had a lot of people buy it but said they wouldn’t read it because it was too triggering.”

Another novel, Simply Marvelous, features a trans character in the lead named Attila. A complex narrative with many storylines, Attila’s tale is full of unease, disquiet and struggle–not unlike that of most people who identify as trans. The tone of Jarrett’s work can, in her words, “sometimes can be angsty…at some point in the story there are challenges that need to be faced and it can get very serious.” 

The queer community has been overall receptive to her work, as she’s received many positive emails from readers and has had inspiring interactions with other queer folx. “Most readers feel they understand and relate to the characters, or say ‘I identify with this person, I know how they feel’,” says Taysha. According to her, the only negative comments are from straight people who say that the situations and storylines are unrealistic, which could be attributed to  a complete misunderstanding of the queer experience rather than unbelievability of the prose. 

Surprisingly, the audience for most gay romance is middle-aged straight women. “I think they got bored with Harlequin and picked up a gay romance to see what was up. They love men — what’s better than two hot men?” she muses. 


Taysha is currently working on the third and final book of the “Drakkar Coven” series, Alexander, Prince of the North, which is set for publication in early October 2020. Intrigue, romance, vampires, wolves and shifters abound, with a conclusion to the saga promising to free the title character from devastating heartache.

While queer storylines are cropping up more and more, Jarrett shares, “I’d definitely like to see more everyday, contemporary romance incorporate queer love, queer characters, and queer stories.” She reiterates, “Maybe not everyone knows that they have these kinds of people in their lives, but LGBT2Q+ people exist! We have real relationships; it’s not always just about sex. These are real feelings, real people, and real love.” 


Aside from ‘Leigh Jarrett’, Taysha also writes under two other pen names: ‘Gavin E. Black’, writer of Hot Gay Erotica with a slice of romance (because every girl needs a naughty alter-ego) and ‘Sara J. Miller’, as she tries her hand at young/new adult fiction with Halo in the Snow, a first-love gay romance.

All of Leigh’s titles are available in digital copy and in paperback from Amazon. For more information, visit www.leighjarrett.com. You can follow her on Instagram @author.leighjarrett, on Twitter @LeighJarrett, and on Facebook @leighjarrett.author; to join her mailing list, click here

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What’s Happening this week in the Okanagan! Sep 21 – 27, 2020


Monday, September 21 – A Sip With Sparkle – Pride ReMIX, featuring Sparkle and Ella Lamoureux, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, and supported by Friends of Dorothy Lounge and Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

As we reluctantly drift into September, we celebrate Kelowna’s Pride Festival from September 20-27, 2020. Our perpetually pickled hostess, Sparkle, will once again be joined by endlessly elegant Ella to guide you through making some refreshing and dangerously delicious cocktails.

Featured on this episode will be the ‘Homopogo’, a gin-based cocktail with a shout out to the legendary Okanagan Lake serpent, and ‘Off the Stonewall’, with a cucumber-infused vodka base and a tribute to where the Pride Movement all began!

To find out more, visit the Facebook Events Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Tuesday, September 22 – 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.


Tuesday, September 15 – HIM Yoga, 5:30 pm, hosted by Health Initiative for Men ~ Online

Come stretch those knots away and do Yoga with HIM online! Just get your Yoga mat and bottle of water ready!

This session is open to all GBT2Q men living across BC. This is an online event via Zoom App. To register, please follow the link below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpduiopjIvG9aIshWI9Elri4mmz_wZXQt4

For more information, please e-mail register@checkhimout.ca. Attendance is free, or by donation.


Tuesday, September 22 – Kelowna Pride Pedal Parade 6pm – 7pm, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, presented by TD Bank, and supported by FidoThe Kanata Hotel & Conference Centre, and Friends of Dorothy Lounge ~ Kelowna and Online

Dust off those bicycles for Kelowna Pride’s First-Ever Pedal Parade. PRE-REGISTRATION Required! We will safely meet in the area of Prospera Place in groups of up to 40 people. Face masks & physical distancing required.

To find out more, visit the Facebook Events Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Tuesday, September 22 – Voices Unheard, 7 pm – 7:30 pm, featuring Wilbur Turner, a key part of taking a small Pride March in Kelowna with a few dozen in attendance, to the festival with thousands in attendance in 2019, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, and supported by Castanet and The Kanata Hotel & Conference Centre ~ Kelowna and Online

For the final episode in this season of Voices Unheard, we celebrate Kelowna Pride Week by delving into the city’s LGBT2Q+ history, and learning the story of a gay man who has been instrumental in fostering the Pride movement in this British Columbia community.

Wilbur Turner (he/him) grew up during the 60s and 70s in rural Alberta “in a time when gay wasn’t a word you heard.” His upbringing in a conservative Christian cult made it impossible for him to recognize his sexuality, and was eventually ostracized by his own family and the church when he finally came out after 18 years of marriage to a woman.

His coming out experience led him to volunteer work in the LGBT2Q+ community; after moving to Kelowna in 2011, he became heavily involved with Kelowna Pride. Wilbur was a key part of taking a small Pride March with a few dozen in attendance, to the festival with thousands in attendance in 2019.

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Wednesday, September 23 – Kelowna Pride Water Parade, 6 pm – 7 pm, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, presented by TD Bank, and supported by FidoThe Kanata Hotel & Conference Centre, and Friends of Dorothy Lounge ~ Kelowna and Online

Dust off those stand-up paddle boards, kayaks or other people-powered watercrafts for Kelowna Pride’s First-Ever? Water Parade hosted by Freida Whales. PRE-REGISTRATION Required!

We will safely meet in the area of The Sails Water fountain, downtown Kelowna. People will be scheduled to allow for adequate spacing between floaties and groups. Masks must be worn while waiting to get on the water.

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Thursday, September 24 – Kelowna Pride Vehicle Parade, 6 pm – 7 pm, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, presented by TD Bank, and supported by FidoThe Kanata Hotel & Conference Centre, and Friends of Dorothy Lounge ~ Kelowna and Online

Power-up and get ready for Kelowna Pride’s First Ever Motor Vehicle Parade. Bedazzle and Bejewel your ride and show your PRIDE. PRE-REGISTRATION Required and limited to 50 vehicles per Provincial Guidelines.

Those who have pre-registered will remain in the vehicle and meet in the back parking lot at Prospera Place.

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Friday, September 25 – Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar – Semi-Finals, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, presented by TD Bank, and supported by Friends of Dorothy LoungeThe Kanata Hotel & Conference CentreFido, and Heritage Law Group ~ Kelowna and Online

The 9th Annual Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar Competition is getting an upgrade this year! With the limited size of crowds able to participate in person we are creating a hybrid of online and in person events. We are also bringing you 3 nights of Superstars and we will have some surprise Celebrity Guests for you!

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Saturday, September 26 – Kelowna Pride Festival 2020, 12pm – 4pm, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, presented by TD Bank, and supported by Friends of Dorothy LoungeThe Kanata Hotel & Conference Centre, and Fido ~ Kelowna and Online

“Your Future, Your Story…”

Come out and show your support for this year’s theme “Your Future, Your Story…”. Spend an afternoon social distancing with your friends at some of Kelowna’s most premiere locations while enjoying live music safely and with a view!

Being hosted across two different secret sites. Only those registered & confirmed to attend will be provided with the appropriate location details. Both locations will have a no-charge area. People will pre-register and we will select up to 50 people to attend in person. The online live stream will be free to watch. Each site will have its own unique line up of live music.

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Saturday, September 26 – Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar – Finale, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, hosted by Kelowna Pride Society and Unicorns.LIVE, presented by TD Bank, and supported by Friends of Dorothy LoungeThe Kanata Hotel & Conference CentreFido, and Heritage Law Group ~ Kelowna and Online

The 9th Annual Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar Competition is getting an upgrade this year! With the limited size of crowds able to participate in person we are creating a hybrid of online and in person events. We are also bringing you 3 nights of Superstars and we will have some surprise Celebrity Guests for you!

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Sunday, September 27 – QueeReads – Fragments of a Unicorn’s Soul (Part 1), 7 pm – 7:45 pm, hosted by Unicorns.LIVE, and supported by Friends of Dorothy Lounge and Author Leigh Jarrett, read by FOD’s very own Colin Barr ~ Kelowna and Online

Content with his life, Elek Keros never questions the ways of the Unicorn. Until one night the sense of something coming awakens him from a deep sleep. He breaks Unicorn law by leaving the enchanted glade his kind lives in to search for what is calling to him. Each night he returns home without answers, but he cannot stop entering the forest day after day to find what he seeks.

The answer lies in a small child Elek rescues. Over the years, he watches over the boy, learns all that he can about the human and steadily falls in love with him. But how can the love he feels possibly breach the divide between their two worlds?

The content of this book is rated R

To find out more, visit the Facebook Event Page

Watch the livestream on Unicorns.LIVE


Sunday, September 27 – Drag Brunch, 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, September 27 – 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