This series of 12 video clips documents a conversation between CCLA volunteer Amara McLaughlin-Harris and Ella Webber. At the top of each video you can see the key questions the clip will discuss. Videos can be viewed below, or can be watched on CCLA’s Youtube Playlist here.
Amara introduces it as follows:
Ella Webber is an old friend of mine. We grew up a street away from one another on Toronto Island and I was a regular fixture in their family home.
Growing up with Ella taught me many things. Among them, was the fact that the binary, “girl or boy” system of gender is more simplistic than the living human reality. Knowing Ella has also given me an understanding of the confusion, fascination, and violence directed at those who don’t fit into the binary system.
This interview was meant to give Ella a chance to speak candidly and publicly on the subject of gender identity and discrimination. Many thanks to Ella for their willingness to share their time, experiences, and insights.
Transmasc-non-binary: This term is a hybrid of the term “transmasculine”, which describes someone who was assigned female at birth and identifies with masculinity and the term “non-binary,” which indicates someone who does not identify exclusively as masculine or feminine.
Passing privilege: The benefit of being able to “pass” as cisgendered.
POC: Person of colour, or non-white person.
What are some views of gender you’ve encountered and how do they relate to your own?
In what ways has your gender been perceived by yourself and others over time? How would you describe the evolution of your gender over time?
What does discrimination mean to you and how does it relate to the idea of equality?
Can you recall early experiences of discrimination, judgement, or lack of experience on the basis of your gender and comment on how these have affected you?
Since you have openly identified as trans and non-binary, how frequently and in what contexts do you feel you experience discrimination or conflict related to your gender? Any stories that you wish to tell?
How do these experiences of discrimination that you’ve described affect you in terms of decisions you make, your sense of possibility, confidence, safety or otherwise?
Are there environments where you can count on being treated respectfully and as equal? Where you can safely and comfortably be at ease with yourself and others?
Are there places you avoid or would never go because you fear or anticipate ill-treatment on the basis of gender?
How does gender affect your interactions with new people in social contexts or otherwise?
Why do you prefer the pronoun “they” and how significant is it to be called by your preferred pronoun? How do people commonly react or respond to using gender neutral pronouns and how would you reply to them?
What about identification, bathrooms, or any other areas of Canadian life that tend to operate according to binary understandings of gender? How do you navigate these situations and how do they make you feel?
What changes do you hope to see in the way gender is understood, particularly with respect to trans and non-binary people? How would your life be different in a gender-equal society?
What would you want to say to someone who is unfamiliar with or confused by trans or non-binary identifying people or someone who can’t figure out your gender by looking at you? Do you have some tips for how this person might engage with or respond to you that would feel respectful?
About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.
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