Academic, artist, activist — critical facets of Joshua M Ferguson today, only beginning to shine six years ago when they received their scholarship from the LOUD Foundation.
“What’s interesting about it for me, and what is special about it for me, is it marked an important point of transition in my life,” says Ferguson, who is a non-binary transgender person and uses the pronoun “they.”
They were among the inaugural recipients in 2009, when BC’s gay and lesbian business association launched scholarships to support future LGBT community leaders. Ferguson received the award just a few months after arriving in Vancouver from Ontario, having just completed a degree in film studies and served as director of the group Standing Against Queer Discrimination.
Since receiving the award, Ferguson has been busy. They married their partner (fellow filmmaker Florian Halbedl) and the two started a film production company. Ferguson also completed a master’s in film studies from UBC and will soon complete a PhD through UBC’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.
Ferguson has also come into their identity as trans, as reflected in part by their latest film, Limina, whose main character is also non-binary.
“Limina relates more to who I am as a trans person and my concern that there isn’t enough positive representation of trans people in the media and popular culture,” they say.
Such representations are central to Ferguson’s dissertation, which examines the rise of a largely North American “transgender societal phenomenon” that excludes trans people who fall outside the gender binary.
Limina is ultimately about love and acceptance, Ferguson says.
“Tragic stories are key sometimes to incite people to positive action, but we also need to put out stories that are positive and not tragic,” they say.
Going forward, Ferguson plans to continue producing films that represent marginalized identities and stories. “My primary goal is to live my life as an artist and to make a difference with my art.”
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