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Halifax youth praise and remember transgender individuals and their allies

There will be a little bit of art and joy spread around this Thursday at the Youth Project.

For the past four years, the Youth Project’s Brunswick St offices have hosted an event called TransMosaic – an unveiling of that year’s additions to an ever-expanding collection of mosaic tiles depicting the names of various transgender individuals and allies. The unveiling and the mosaic were born out of discussion around the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“We participate each year [in the Transgender Day of Remembrance],” says Sheena Jamieson, support services coordinator for the YP. “It’s a way to get transgender youth connected with others in the community, albeit in a very sombre atmosphere. We as YP staff heard from youth that while this kind of recognition is absolutely important, it made them feel like nothing positive was happening, which they know to be untrue. They were aware of allies and other transgender people who were doing great work. ”

Looking for a more positive and uplifting way to foster discussion around transgender individuals and rights, the youth came up with the idea of creating a mosaic. “Each year we nominate approximately 10 role models, allies, people or organizations doing outstanding work in combating transphobia, or making spaces safer for transgender people,” says Sheena. “We then hand-paint a tile for each nominee and join them together to create a mosaic.” The mosaic is one of the first things you see when you walk into the meeting space at the YP. The tiles are framed above an old fireplace, where everyone can see them. You will find the names of musicians like Rae Spoon and Lucas Silveira, as well as athletes such as Caster Semenya and Michelle Dumaresq, as well as fictional characters, such as Adam from the Degrassi franchise.

Although the mosaic has serious origins, for the people at the Youth Project, it has transformed into something joyous. “Tile-painting is one of my favourite yearly events,” says Jamieson, “because we get together at Clay Café and chat about what our nominees are doing, what services out there exist for trans-identified people, and we get to see the mosaic get bigger as the community does.” This year’s additions to the mosaic will bring the total to 66 tiles, and for the first time, all of them will have connections to Nova Scotia.

The event takes place this Thursday at the Youth Project’s office at 2281 Brunswick St. The event takes place from 6 until 8pm and is free. For more information check out the Facebook event page.

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