Members of Toronto’s queer communities are mourning the death of Kyle Scanlon, who was found in his home after committing suicide on July 3.
Scanlon was the 519 Church St Community Centre’s education, training and research coordinator.
“Kyle has worked at The 519 for a decade and during that time helped to redefine the face of trans community services in Toronto and across Canada. Projects like Trans Access, Trans Pulse and Project Open Door will continue to advance the rights, health and vibrancy of our trans communities and will serve as a legacy of Kyle’s commitment and passion,” reads a statement issued by The 519.
“The entire 519 community mourns the loss of our dear friend and a remarkable community leader. Counselling and support services are being coordinated for staff of The 519 and a book of condolences will be placed in The Centre’s lobby for signing beginning on Monday. We have been in touch with Kyle’s family and close friends and a community memorial event is being planned. Details will be posted as they become available.”
A native of Hamilton, Scanlon was the former executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line. In taking the position he broke new ground as the first openly transgender man to be the executive director of a queer agency in Canada. He was also a former staff member with Pink Triangle Press, which publishes Xtra and fab magazines and xtra.ca.
In 2009, in The 519’s Centre Voices blog, Scanlon wrote, “It takes a village to build community” and reflected on belonging and self-discovery in the village.
Later, he wrote poignantly about his life as a trans man in a bio-sketch for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.
“It’s so easy as a transitioning person to think that everything in life is related to transition, to surgeries, to hormones, and to passing. We divide our lives into ‘before and after.’ We spend all our time telling friends and relatives about why we want to transition, what it was like to transition, and what the differences are between living as men versus women. We’re viewed as social experiments, the creations of science and medicine. We’re the topics of gossip, and the guests of tacky talk shows. We’re objects.”
“People easily forget we’re human. And we mustn’t let them. We must show them, at every opportunity, that we have talents, and dreams, and lives.”
More on Kyle Scanlon:
Xtra contributor Katie Toth has written “In Memory of Kyle Scanlon” for This Magazine.
Writer David Demchuk’s story “Toronto’s Trans Community Grieves Loss of Kyle Scanlon” is on the Torontoist website.
A Proud Life feature will soon be published on xtra.ca.