Copyright © 2007-9, by Kyle Scanlon
Trans Programmes Co-coordinator
519 Community Centre, Toronto, Canada
Biosketch - Trans Programmes at the 519 - Photos
Biosketch from the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives:
A native of Hamilton, Kyle Scanlon was a member of the queer students’ organization at McMaster University. A move to Toronto led Kyle into the Lesbian Gay Bi Youth Line, where he became the first openly transsexual man to be the Executive Director of a queer agency in Canada. Kyle was led to his current position at the 519 Community Centre, where he serves as the Centre’s Trans Programmes Co-coordinator. Finding emergency housing, securing funding for the programmes he oversees, providing a supportive ear and a safe space for distressed clients, and engaging in the process with Toronto’s homeless shelters to implement trans-positive policies are all in a day’s work. With the program’s’ weekly drop-in centre, Kyle also ensures his clients can look forward to a hot, nourishing meal, can access a housing worker and a legal clinic.
After hours, he can be found working as a member of Toronto’s LGBT Police Consultative Committee, with the Sherbourne Health Centre, where he works to improve access to medical services for the trans, two-spirited, and intersexed communities, or in an advisory role to a number of research projects related to trans issues. He was a key player in the Youth Migration Project, a large-scale research study undertaken to evaluate issues in HIV vulnerability in youth who have migrated to Toronto, the AIDS Committee of Toronto’s Trans Needs Assessment, and Fred Victor Centre’s document “Where We Are All Welcome”, highlighting the unique issues of homeless trans people trying to access space in hostels and shelters. Additionally, Kyle has supported many other community organizations in their quest to become trans-positive/trans-accessible, including the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada, and the Law Society of Upper Canada, to name only a few.
His publications have appeared in such diverse media outlets as local newspapers, feminist essay collections, health advocacy websites, and academic journals. Kyle has been invited to speak at conferences across North America, and was recognized for his extensive community involvement with the 2001 Grassroots Trans Community Activist of the Year from SOY.
Trans Programmes at the 519
ourselves "Trans Programmes at the 519", and we have/are involved in....
> Meal Trans, the meal programme for lower income folks.
> Aids Prevention Outreach by a trans sex worker FOR trans sex workers to provide them with condoms and lube.
> Trans Youth Toronto, a recreational space for youth 26 and under.
> Trans Access - a series of trainings for shelter staff and residents to create trans accessibility. (primarily focused on MTF issues and needs)
> Trans Inclusion Project - similar trainings but aimed at anti-violence service agencies around trans access. (primarily focused on MTF issues and needs)
> The FTM Safer Shelter Project - a research project looking at the needs of FTMs in the shelter system.
> The Gay Bi Queer Transmen's Working Group - a research project which has just created a safer sex resource guide for transmen who sex with other men. You can visit www.queertransmen.org to view this resource.
> The Pulse Project, a health research project, intended to be the biggest of its kind in Canada looking at health issues in trans communities in Ontario.
And of course in all of our projects, our staff
members are trans. And none of any of this would be possible without the
dedication, insight, and stamina of my other team members who provide leadership
to these various projects: Jake, Yasmeen, Monica, Alec, Jazzmine, Shannon, Zack,
Rebecca, Spy, Rain and Jordan.
It's been really rewarding to be involved with all these wonderful people as one twelfth of a team that is making a difference in lots of lives. We each have a specific role in creating, and operating all of these varied projects, and we each bring our ideas and objectives to the table in considering our next steps. I like to think that my gift is to provide a healthy dose of compassion to all the work that I do.
Trans Programmes Coordinator
The 519 Church Street Community Centre
Kyle with some the trans staff of The 519
[Left to right: Shannon, Yasmeen, Kyle, Alec, Jazzmine and Jake]
I love these photos, mostly taken at Safari Zoo Camp in Orono, Ontario. For more of them see http://www.nerdgrrl.org/gallery2/v/fiends/tronnagang/kylezoo/.
Some may wonder why I'm including all these pictures of myself with wild animals. (Lemurs and anacondas and monkeys, oh my!) It's because I wanted to take the chance to showcase the universe that my warmth of spirit doesn't just extend to fellow human beings, but also to the furry and scaly creatures as well. Though I don't have pictures on the web to prove it (damn you, old fashioned camera!) I also have spent 45 minutes in a pool with dolphins (You haven't really lived until you've held onto two fins and let them speed you along across the water), got a hug from a sea lion, and snorkeled with sharks and sting rays! The goal I've set for myself in life is to have (safe) physical contact with as many kinds of animals as possible. To help achieve this, I've currently got a trip to Australia in the works. Koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, fur seals, sea lions, and dolphins are all in the plan. Wild animals, all of them. I'm also going to be petting a tiger in a zoo. Not wild, obviously, but that's still pretty damn cool. :-)
With a fox
With a little baby monkey
With an anaconda
With a couple of hungry lemurs
Me and my very own kitty, Kira
There's another more compelling reason for including these animal-focused shots: because they have nothing to do with my being trans.
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.
Page compiled by Lynn Conway
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