Creating visibility, understanding, and connection of trans people within the community
Ashley Aalto, Staff Writer
On October 25th, Pride Central facilitated an all-ages community event in The Study at Lakehead University. The workshop was organized by Pride Central to create a conversation in the Thunder Bay community regarding taught gender norms, as well as transgendered identities.
Nivie Dhami, the Pride Central coordinator at Lakehead University and main speaker and organizer of the event, shared with The Argus that the trans workshop was created because there were many community members who had questions about pronouns and other genders that exist outside of male and female. Because there is not enough centres or resources in Thunder Bay, Nivie decided to create a workshop to get the conversation about gender started and to hopefully see the initiative grow into a series.
The workshop was very informative, as it discussed not only different genders, but also how transgender exists within other cultures. Nivie talked about the First Nations term “Two Spirit” which refers to a group of people within the First Nations community who do not have rigid gender identities. Another group Nivie addressed was Hijras, a social group in India that identify as neither male nor female. Both were also talked about in a historical context as Nivie also examined how colonialism negatively impacted Two Spirited and Hijra people’s status within their communities.
Many had attended the event and were impressed with how informative the presentation was. Blake, an attendee of the workshop, said, “He/she can be experienced in so many different ways, and then you start bringing the use of ‘they’ into question and it takes that conversation a bit further. It can encompass almost anything in one word. Having that umbrella term can show people that they can fit into wherever they want to.”
Jey, another attendee, told The Argus, “As a trans person, it’s interesting to see it from an outside perspective. It’s cool to see how people are more open to it. ‘Trans’ is kind of a buzz word now and it’s really cool to see people talking about it and having a more open mind about it. I think it’s great that we’re having the conversation about it, especially for kids. Let kids be who they want to be. Let them express themselves.”
Overall, Nivie was really impressed with the amount of people that came to the event: “The amount of people that reached out matched the amount of people that came to the event. I was glad that folks took the time to come. Whether is was for five minutes or fifteen, I was glad they came out.”
If you have any questions about proper use of pronouns, what transgender means, or about gender in general, Nivie encourages you to visit her in Pride Central. It is a safe space and welcomes any questions regarding these matters.