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Some folks ask me, why put yourself out there, why bare your soul and share your life with people you barely know, why continually dig up the pieces that make you uncomfortable… well, read on!

Back on November 17, 2016, squeezed in amongst multiple events I had to attend that day, was time spent with the T.E.A.R. (Teens Ending Abusive Relationships) Youth Leaders at Victim Services Toronto. If you’re ever around on a Thursday night, between 7 and 8 pm Eastern, hop into the weekly #TEARtalk on Twitter and be prepared to be amazed. I had suggested a few months before that they should discuss the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) prior to it happening on November 20th, and they asked for as much information as I could find that they could research, discuss, and develop that night’s Twitter chat.

I was also asked to stop by and do a brief version of our Ryerson lectures to give them an idea of life as a trans person prior to their weekly online chat. Realizing of course that this is a group of superb teens, there are some issues that I did leave out, but gave them a look at all aspects of everything else that I could. We also discussed the work that I do with Danielle Bottineau and as the civilian co-chair of the TPS LGBTQ CCC. We have a few more in the works with the group, one will be a chance for them to meet Danielle and learn all about her job as the LGBTQ Liaison Officer, and another for us together to go further into the work we do around building bridges and making positive changes happen.

You know me well if you know that my goal is to reach one heart and mind each time, that is my measure of success. Here is the written feedback that I picked up this past Friday morning from that evening’s conversation:

TEAR #1

“Christine was very inspiring to me as a youth, and taught me a lot about the Trans community, and answered every question I asked. She put up a great conversation and discussion, and I’d love to see her and talk to her again.”

TEAR #2

“Christine is such an inspiring soul. Coming from a very conservative and traditional background, it’s not every day I am exposed to such bravery and different viewpoints. Although I came pretty late and couldn’t hear her entire story, I could feel the inspiration and positivity flowing through the room and expressions of gratitude on everyone’s faces. I love hearing about personal stories so it was an intriguing environment for me.”

TEAR #3

“The talk with Christine was awesome! I learned so much and her story was extremely profound. I didn’t know the realities of what people in the transgender community faced and the importance of advocacy. Christine is an absolutely amazing woman with so many insights and I’m glad I had the opportunity to finally meet her in person! ❤😃 Woohoo!”

TEAR #4

“Christine’s presentation was an eye opening experience and it was so delightful to have her talk to us. I also loved #TEARtalk that night. Would have been better to have visuals though.”

[I must bring our slide deck with me next time! This was supposed to be an informal chat, I didn’t bring the entire lecture package.]

TEAR #5

  • – Amazing presentation
  • – Delivery was extremely impactful
  • – Very educational on the realities of the trans community
  • – Suicide rates/life expectancy of trans people were most shocking
  • – Would love to see a PowerPoint or visuals with info! It was so much to ingest at once. Presentation would help me see concepts and aid my note taking!

************

And that is why, as much as I wish we didn’t have to, it is vital that we continue to educate and have the conversations, particularly the uncomfortable topics. First you open the minds and then you fill them with knowledge.

Remember, the first step is Education.

Then, Education leads to Understanding.

And, Understanding will lead to Acceptance.

Finally, Acceptance will become Love.

Similar to when I also discuss mental health in depth in my lectures, the only way to #EndTheStigma is to have the conversations, openly and honestly, and to educate wherever necessary. If people are taught to hate, we can also teach them to love and understand. And goodness knows, we can do with a lot more love and understanding these days.

It also proves to someone sitting there hearing someone discuss something familiar that hits home, that they then realize #YouAreNotAlone. And they can then see that #MyLifeIsNotAJoke, and despite everything, I can stand there and prove that I am #ProudToughStrongDetermined.

Spread a little love around… Cookie says so! 

Christine ❤❤

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