canadian queer and trans writers – these are for you!

Any writers out there? I’ve got two calls for submissions for ya. One is from the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives, which is running a first-person essay contest. The other is from Rupert Raj, a prominent Canadian trans activist based in Toronto, who’s coordinating an anthology about the history of Canadian trans activism – a yummy topic if I’ve ever seen one. Full details below. Pass ’em on!


Call for Submissions

First Person Narrative National Essay Contest
Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

This Year’s Topic ~ Once I Was A Child
Essay Length ~ 2000-2500 words.

1st prize      $500.00
2nd prize     $300.00
3rd prize     $200.00

With a special prize of $100.00 for Best Under Nineteen

Prizewinning essays to be selected by award winning author and Giller Prize nominee Wayson Choy and by Sarah Sheard, writer and mentor with Humber School For Writers

Submission Due Date ~ September 30, 2008
Prize Winners announced ~ December 15, 2008

Entries should be previously unpublished, typed, single-sided, and double-spaced with your name, address, telephone number and story title on a separate sheet. Parent/Guardian signature required for anyone under 19. Forms can be found on our web site. Entry fee is $25.00 payable to Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives by cheque or online at Free for anyone under 19.

Send your stories to
Managing Editor, The Archivist
106 Walpole Avenue
Toronto ON M4L 2J3
or to

The contest is open to all ages and all backgrounds.

All entries will be considered for publication in Keeping Our Stories Alive, Volume 1, A Journal of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.



***Please post print copy and circulate e-mail electronically* **

TRANS ACTIVISM: A Canadian Reader and Practical Guide

(co-editors: Rupert Raj, M.A. & Dan Irving, Ph.D., reviewer: Yasmeen Persad)

This dynamic book project will critically explore the history of trans resistance efforts, as well as the issues and struggles shaping contemporary trans activism in Canada. A groundbreaking initiative, it will be the first-ever anthology soliciting papers from a diverse range of trans advocates working in a Canadian context.

Working within an intersectional, anti-oppression, feminist and critical political-economic framework, this project will address multiple approaches to trans (transsexual/ transgender) activism in Canada. These will include the political, economic, sociocultural, psychological, legal, medical, scientific, religious and existential/ spiritual aspects of trans oppression and trans advocacy (the latter including anti-racist and
anti-colonial approaches).

The goals of this book project are: (1) to continue to combat trans erasure and invisibility through illustrating the rich history and contemporary presence of trans communities and activism within a Canadian context; (2) to enhance community-based research, trans activist endeavours and theorizing through critical engagement with the understandings of trans identities and strategies, with a view towards advancing the material lives and real experiences of trans people residing in Canada; and (3) to inspire and reinvigorate trans activists and community workers to continue to struggle for equity and social justice
for all trans people.

While much depends on the submissions received, this book will be divided into three sections:

(I.) Histories of Trans Activism: What were some of the earlier forms of trans resistance (pre-1990)? How did resistance take place? Where did it occur? With whom/what institutions were activists engaging? Did other forms of activism (i.e., early gay Pride marches, organizing for sex workers rights, indigenous anti-colonial struggles, etc.) include issues arising from sex/gender alterity? What lessons were learned? Is history
repeating itself?

(II) Contemporary Activism: (a) Politicized Issues, (b) Ways of doing trans activism (i.e., community-based research, art as activism, therapy as activism, community service organizations, academic contributions) , (c) Barriers facing trans activists (i.e., burnout, dealing with ?differences? within trans communities, confronting transphobia, etc.); (d) Allies and Supporters.

(III.) Practical Tips for the Trans Activist: Self-care, networking, becoming media savvy, self-advocacy.

Not all submissions must be articles. You can submit drawings/graphics, poems, short stories, etc. If you are a grassroots trans activist, who finds it challenging to write (which might include people whose first language is not English, persons with language or computer literacy issues, visually-impaired individuals, or other folks with specific issues: please specify), you may also submit a request to be interviewed by one of the editors. If accepted, selections from the interview transcript will be included in the book. (We will limit the number of interviewees to a maximum of three people).

We encourage contributions which address, but are not limited to, the following:

*accounts of Francophone trans activism/organizing within Quebec and other parts of French Canada (e.g., New Brunswick, northern Ontario)
*histories of trans organizing from all regions of English Canada
*essays on/by key historical figures within trans communities
*histories of two-spirit identities by those who identify as both two-spirit and trans; organizing by First Nations trans people
*historical, institutional and/or personal challenges of trans activists
*trans organizing within, against and beyond gender identity clinics
*struggles for trans-specific health care services and equitable access to health care
*fighting for inclusive, responsive and transpositive social services for trans people
*trans people with disabilities; ableism within and without the trans and disability communities
*art-as-activism (?artivism?)
*trans labour activism
*developing trans feminism and alliances within women?s communities
*trans prisoners; a transphobic justice system and a need for transpositive prison reform
*past campaigns to decriminalize prostitution; trans prostitutes/ sex-workers as leading activists
*legal battles for human rights of trans people
*therapy-as- activism; the potential activist role of trans-identified therapists/ counsellors
*trans theorizing as activism (trans academia)
*scientific activism; trans-specific, clinical research as transphobic or as transpositive (an evidence-based tool for trans advocacy)
*trans organizing within religious/spiritual contexts
*the fight for affordable access to (higher) education as well as job training
*affordable, safe housing for trans people
*trans (chosen) families as politicized sites of struggle
*HIV/AIDS and safer-sex activism
*trans seniors-as-activist s; ageism within the trans community; organizing re: the rights of older trans people
*immigration, refugee and settlement issues
*fighting racialization of trans people within and without the trans community; whiteness as an obstacle to solidarity
*trans activism within gay, lesbian and bisexual communities
*the rights and/or emancipation of trans and gender non-conforming children and adolescents
*anti-capitalist trans activism
*trans and genderqueer youth
*sexuality and trans activism
*intersex activism by those who identify as both intersex and trans
*transsexual versus transgender tensions
*developing anti-oppression frameworks within activist spaces
*trans activism reproducing colonial and nationalist frameworks
*class as a barrier to trans solidarity
*battling misogyny within ourselves and our communities
*coping with burnout, self-care strategies
*negotiating power relations within community-based research projects
*the violence we do to each other and working through our internal differences
*negotiating alliances between trans and non-trans activists
*strategies to transact, transgress, transcend?

Contributors must have experience as advocates or community workers working with trans people in the Canadian context. While we cannot promise that we will be able to include all submissions received, we still hope that all interested individuals will send us an abstract, including our allies and supporters (e.g., family members, partners, friends, colleagues, health care and social service providers, legal and medical professionals, researchers, educators, policy makers, politicians, faith leaders, etc.). We also strongly encourage First Nations trans people, trans people of colour, trans newcomers, sex-workers, trans seniors, low-income trans people or those with a disability, trans prisoners, as well as trans-identified genderqueer, intersex and two-spirit people, to submit.

A contract with a publisher has NOT yet been secured (but we do have three POTENTIAL publishers). Selected abstracts and bios from contributors will be submitted as part of the book proposal.

The editors are Dan Irving, Ph.D. and Rupert Raj, M.A. Dan is a trans man, trans activist, academic and university instructor working in Ottawa, and has published “The Tragedy of Progress: Marxism, Modernity and the Aboriginal Question.” Rupert is a Eurasian-Canadian trans man, trans activist, published researcher, therapist and gender specialist based in Toronto. Your abstract submission will be reviewed by a three-person committee, including the co-editors and Yasmeen Persad, a Caribbean-Canadian trans woman, trans activist and community worker, who also does outreach with trans sex-workers in Toronto.

Please submit a 500-word abstract (double-spaced) , and a 100-word bio (double-spaced) by Friday, October 24th, 2008 (12 midnight) to: irving.dan@gmail. com, rraj@sherbourne. and ypersad@sherbourne.

(For your clarification, as a courtesy to non-academics: the abstract is only a synopsis or outline – not the finished piece itself – and should include the overall purpose, focus and proposed content, with examples, if applicable. The focus might be a particular population: e.g., trans people with a disability, and/or a specific issue: stigmatization around ableism within the trans community and/or transphobic discrimination within the disability communities and/or mainstream society. Your bio should ideally include relevant professional, community-activist and personal demographic information: i.e., ethnoracial, national, regional and cultural status, place of birth, age, gender identity, sexual identity, and specialized demographics: e.g., are you homeless/underhoused, poor/on a limited income, disabled, new to Canada, etc.; as well as any past, present or future specific trans activist efforts/projects).

We hope to be able to make our final decisions by Sunday, November 2nd, at which time we will notify all submitters whether we will be including your piece in the anthology. We will also acknowledge receipt of abstract submissions and bios as we receive them.

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3 thoughts on “canadian queer and trans writers – these are for you!

  1. This post was listed as a referrer to my site, and I’m not quite sure why, since it was written way before my site even existed, but I’m really glad I found your blog! Looks like you are doing some really important work. I look forward to reading some more!

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