Monday, July 28, 2014

NL and NS Transgender Activists to visit PEI Pride!


Transwoman and trans rights activist, Jennifer McCreath from Newfoundland, will be visiting Summerside and Charlottetown PEI on Wed July 30, to attend two official PEI Pride events, and to organize several trans-themed events of her own. She will be accompanied by Nova Scotia transwoman and activist, Trina Conrad of Halifax.

Jennifer is best-known for parlaying her trans status with her athletic legacy as a marathon runner, her political activism, and her flamboyant personality; into public educational and advocacy work regarding issues affecting transgender, transsexual, panssexual, and intersexed individuals.

McCreath is in the early stages of launching her own Jennifer McCreath Foundation, an organization that will carry out educational, activist, and peer support work for members of the trans communities all over Canada, with a core focus on Eastern Canada.

McCreath also hopes to resurrect the grass roots concept of the East Coast Trans Alliance, a vision she first conceptualized with Conrad, and others, in 2011, with the idea that trans activists would be better-served by coming together and fighting battles of a common cause. McCreath realizes that trans people in the 4 eastern provinces of Canada, are at a significant disadvantage, compared to trans people elsewhere, given the current states of Government trans health policies, trans legal identification document issues, as well as general societal attitudes towards trans people in terms of employment, housing, physical safety, bullying, and general social acceptance.

McCreath hopes her visit will encourage trans PE-Islanders to come out publicly and organize themselves better so that they can better speak and advocate for themselves, as well as collaborate with trans communities of other provinces to fight common battles.

McCreath also sees this visit as an opportunity to develop networking contacts and friendships with members of the PEI LGB and T communities. She also hopes that her presence in the province, combined with the events she has organized, will help shine a light on the issues currently faced by trans people in PEI, and act as a catalyst to stimulate conversations about how society can better learn to accept and embrace, trans people.

McCreath and Conrad will be attending official PEI Pride events, the Cupcake Decorating, 1 pm at Atlantic Superstore, in Charlottetown, as well as the Pride Coffee House 7 pm at Beanz, where McCreath will be on the agenda to give a brief speech.

"I am really excited to have been invited to appear at PEI Pride's Coffee House event on July 30, where I will introduce myself and talk a little bit about the work I have planned for the Jennifer McCreath Foundation. I look forward to engaging the PEI LGBT community in my work, and I encourage anyone in the area to come out and support PEI Pride," said McCreath.

McCreath and Conrad are also organizing the following 3 trans-themed events:

Trans Pride Flag Waving Event - Summerside, PEI, Town Hall, 11.15 am

Trans Pride Flag Waving Event - Charlottetown, PEI, City Hall, 3 pm

PEI Trans Issues Demonstration - Charlottetown, PEI, Province House, 4 pm

McCreath will also be touring Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in August, where she will march in Fredericton's official pride parade, as well as organize trans-themed events in Fredericton, NB, Moncton, NB, and Scotsburn, NS.

A full bio of McCreath can be found here:

Questions and interviews:

Jennifer McCreath
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Newfoundland's first Trans March and Rally 7/13/14

History was made July 13, 2014, as members of the St. John's trans community and their allies attended a rally and march at Confederation Building on Prince Philip Drive.  This was a grass roots movement that I organized in attempt to raise awareness to some of the challenges still facing members of the trans community, a the overall LGBT community 'celebrates' Pride Week.

Although the turn out of 10, was a far cry from the 2000 who attended the official Pride parade later in the week, the event attracted the attention of CBC Radio, who did a 9 minute live interview with me on site

Included in the attendance, was Rebecca Martin, another keen local trans activist, who also received a radio interview from CBC, later in the week, to discuss trans issues. 

There was also a special appearance by my alter-ego, Trans Mysterio, my pro wrestling character, who added some fun to an otherwise serious event. 

The rally lasted 2 hours, with more than 1000 cars driving by on the busy intersection. Many folks honked horns and waved in support. The march consisted of an out and back 2 km walk down Prince Philip Drive towards lovely Kent's Pond.  Along the way, we found a portable toilet, and declared it was 'gender neutral'.

It is my hopes that this will be the first of many annual trans pride marches in this city. It was an honour to share this event with some of the really keen trans activists in this city.

McCreath reconciles with St. John's Pride, speaks at Middle Cove 7/14/14

It was a special moment for me on July 14, 2014 at the town hall of Logy Bay-Outer Cove-Middle Cove, as I reconciled with St. John's Pride Inc., an organization which I founded in 2010, yet left under rough circumstances in 2012, and attended and spoke at the Middle Cove flag raising event.

The Middle Cove bonfire event has been a St. John's Pride week tradition for more than 20 years, but it was I who conceptualized the Middle Cove flag-raising event in 2011. It was great to return three years later, and not only speak at this event about trans issues, but to help raise the trans flag at this location for the first time ever.

The event was well-attended, and included special speeches by myself, along with Mayor John Kennedy, Susan Rose of Egale Canada, and St. John's Pride reps.  The event was extra special for the trans community, as I joined 3 of the 4 trans people, who make up the 8 person Pride Board of Directors, to raise the trans flag.

Depicted are me with my infamous trans plungers, Mayor Kennedy, Me raising the trans flag with Pride Board members, the Mayor with Pride board members, Susan Rose speaking, and me speaking.

Huge turn out for Grand Falls Windsor Newfoundland Pride Day! 7/13/14

It was an historic day on July 13, 2014 in the town of Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, as the town celebrated Pride Week for the very first time. I was privileged to host a flag-raising and luncheon social event at the  Status of Women - Central's headquarters.

An amazing 40-50 people showed up for the festivities, including Federal Member of Parliament Scot Simms, a rep from the newly-established Pflag Chapter, and several volunteers and students from the local youth centre.

The event also featured a press conference which included the coverage of local newspaper, the Advertiser. 

The event has lead several local LGBT activists to commit to creating an official Pride non-profit organization for the town, an endeavor which I look forward to helping them create.

Terry Rielly Teddy Bears Picnic Report 7/13/14

For the 5th time in 6 years, I attended Terry Rielly's annual Teddy Bear's picnic; and for the 4th time, I was "Head Nurse" at the teddy bear hospital. Terry was one of the first local celebrities to open his arms to me, and welcome me into the community. When I was a newly-out transwoman in a town that did not have very much diversity, an endorsement from Terry went a long way to helping me gain a positive reputation as a community leader and overall good citizen.  It was an honour to return again this year for another successful event.

McCreath's "Swim the Kyle" Report 7/12/14

On July 12, 2014, I joined Libby Earl, daughter of the last captain of the S.S. Kyle, Guy Earl, for the 5th annual "Swim the Kyle" fundraiser, a venture to raise money for a non-profit organization that is looking to salvage this ship that has been beached and abandoned since 1967.

Perhaps one of Newfoundland's best-known boats, the S.S. Kyle is an important part of its history, as it frequently transported doctors to rural towns only accessible by boat, in the early 1900s. Later a passenger transport ship during World War Two, and eventually a sealing vessel, the Kyle drifted into Harbour Grace harbor during a snow storm in 1967, and eventually got lodged into a sand bar. It has since sat there ever since.

The swim from shore to boat and back was only 350 metres, but the water was a freezing 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making it dangerously cold to be in the water for a long period of time.  Libby's experienced team showed up with wet suits, while I swam in my little pink bikini. 

Amazingly, I managed to keep the limbs moving and we all swam out, touched the boat, got pictures taken, then swam back, in a total of 20 minutes.

There was also a festival on the nearby park grounds, including local musicians, vendors selling crafts, local authors promoting their history books, and balloons for the kids.

I am also excited to have become an informal advisor to S.S. Kyle Historical Foundation, the non-profit org attempting to save the ship.  Libby and her husband live in Connecticut, but make the annual trip to Harbour Grace to oversee this event. I hope to return next summer to join them again!


Pride flag raising at Gander Newfoundland 7/15/14


On July 15, 2014, I have the pleasure of hosting the 3rd annual Pride Week flag raising ceremony in Gander. I was joined with my St. John's trans contingency, the Deputy Mayor, Cyril Abbott, and Sandra from the Gander Women's Centre; along with about a dozen local LGBT community members + allies.  A coffee social was followed afterwards at the Women's Centre. 

The event has opened new doors for steps that will be taken to form a round-the-calendar LGBT activism and support group in this town.