Christine Newman is a proud and outspoken woman from Toronto (she says she is a “Certified Comical Curmudgeon”). Her writing appears in a number of publications both online and in print. This blog is the space for the teachable moments she discovers while on her journey. She is also a published author, joining the group of 49 artist-contributors for Cuarenta y Nueve (available in hardcover and softcover editions), a tribute to the 49 souls lost at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. She is currently working on a submission for an anthology on mental health, and is writing a book of her life’s experiences and funny stories, the working title is “Whaddaya say we…just for the hell of it?”
Christine has been an LGBTQ activist and advocate for 36 years (she retired from activism in 2015, and now focuses solely on advocacy work), and has been an advocate for mental health/illness/injury for 20 years, focusing in recent years on PTSD, while drawing on her own daily battle with PTSD for inspiration. Her personal battle began before her teenage years, and she has been a mental health warrior ever since. Her greatest hope is to eliminate the stigma around mental health/illness/injury in her lifetime, particularly for veterans and all frontline/first responder personnel. She maintains an interest in the work being done around Alzheimer’s Disease and has a very personal interest in Cancer research.
The organizations and boards she has been a member of, or groups and organizations she was a founding member of, are too many to list here, but some of her involvements over the past decade were founding the Toronto Trans Alliance (now part of a larger umbrella group), and being the very first trans woman to sit as the Civilian Co-Chair of the Toronto Police Service LGBTQ2S Community Consultative Committee (she calls it “Speaking Truth to Power 101”). Completing her 2 years as Civilian Co-Chair with her last official duty to read the gospel at her friend Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo’s Covenanting Service, Christine will now be devoting her time to other areas, particularly the work of NWLEA and the doctoral work of a friend in the same area of interest – equality/equity for women in uniform in all areas.
While doing her best to avoid being in front of the camera, she has been seen in recent years as an on-air interviewer/reporter for community television show On The Couch, and can be heard a few times per year on CIUT 89.5 FM‘s Rainbow Country as a guest expert/historian while working behind the scenes as a segment producer. In 2015 she was part of the Global Television documentary 16X9 – The Fight for Trans Rights, has appeared on CBC Metro Morning, CBC News at Six, CBC The National, CP24, CTV News Channel, and Cheri DiNovo’s 3 Women on CIUT (The Radical Reverend will be back this year!) discussing various topics of interest. She has been quoted in articles in the National Post, the Huffington Post, and IN Magazine. She authored a column for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) in the summer of 2017 which continues to lead to many interesting conversations with police service members nationally and internationally.
Thoroughly invested in education, she guest lectures with her best friend and work partner PC Danielle Bottineau, Toronto Police Service LGBTQ2S Liaison Officer, delivering a guest lecture series (from 1 to 3 lectures) each semester for Ryerson University, as well as providing training to University of Toronto Campus Police, TTC Transit Enforcement, and other services. Christine also guest lectures for University of Toronto Medical School, Humber College, other educational institutions, and leads seminars and delivers talks for corporations and police services across Canada. She played a role in the development of Home Depot Canada’s Gender Transition Guide, and was their featured speaker to assist their Orange Pride group launch the roll-out across Canada in September 2017.
She refers to her personal four steps regularly for the reasoning behind all of her involvements, particularly in delivering seminars, guest lectures, or other speaking opportunities:
- Step 1 Education will lead to
- Step 2 Understanding which will develop into
- Step 3 Acceptance which will eventually become
- Step 4 Love.
She has one great love in her life currently, her feline companion of the past 16 years, Miss Heidi, Queen of all She surveys. (If you are about to ask, yes, that means Christine is single/available and a card-carrying lesbian.) Otherwise, you’ll likely find her with a coffee and a cigarette outside of a Starbucks somewhere in the city.
If you want to know more, just ask. Reach out to contact her via this blog, through one of her many columns, or on social media platforms as HeyWriterGrrl. While her calendar can fill up fairly quickly each year, you can always ask for Christine & Danielle (she can occasionally be persuaded to be a solo act) to deliver a presentation/lecture for your class or organization too.
Peace out kittens! ❤❤