Tell us about yourself.
Hi I’m Derek,
I moved to Toronto from a small town outside the Kitchener/Waterloo area in 2006.
I’m a gay person and father of three. I’d call my family a truly “modern” family. I co-parent with a couple I’ve known since high school. A trans man, and a pansexual cis-gendered woman.
I’ve recently been using my life experience and stories to engage conversations on 2SLGBTQ+ topics and participant in shared learning.
I lived in a home as a live-in mentor for 3 years, and redesigned the program to be an inclusive safe space for trans youth.
Your Personal Journey
What are the challenges facing the 2SLGBTQ+ community?
I would say one of the biggest challenges I see is the acknowledgement in the 2SLGBTQ+ community in remembering our own history.
We are not raised (usually) by parents in the community and the issues facing the people of the 2SLGBTQ+ and our history of fighting for the rights we currently have. As we move through this world as white gay men, we have the ability and privilege to “pass” in society. 2SLGBTQ+ people of colour and trans people do not get those same privileges and as a result face disproportionate amounts of violence, hate and discrimination.
Tell us why or how you are connected to this topic?
I was born into it. I’ve loved dresses, glitter, and Disney princesses (and still do).
Who or what inspires you in this topic? Why?
The generations that came before me. I love talking to people who lived as a 2SLGBTQ+ person in Toronto over the years. The battles fought, and the adventures (exciting, and terrible) that built the community as we know it today.
The Survivors and Fighters of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which still scars our community to this day. The Stories of the lives lost carries by the survivors today speaks volumes.