This is a partial directory of Canadian trans activists. The first biographies were added in December 2020 and I will be uploading more as they become available. This is a big project and it may take some time before your favourite activist is listed, but in time I hope it will be reasonably comprehensive. These biographies are not exhaustive, but are an introduction to the trans folks working (or who have worked) for our community.
Contributions to the directory in the form of corrections or people I should know about would be appreciated. If submitting a bio, whenever possible include a birth date (and date of death, if applicable), education, profession, major accomplishments, and place(s) in Canada where active. These are guidelines only. I realize it’s a challenge finding biographical information.
The directory is in alphabetical order by first name.
(b. 1951) PhD Sociology; MA Communications; B.Sc (partial) Physics; B.A. Psychology; Certificate Printing Trades.
Scholar, author, founder & Academic Director, Transgender Archives, University of Victoria. Chair in Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria.
One of the authors of versions 6 and 7 of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care, and is now overseeing its translation into world languages. Author of numerous scholarly articles, and the widely-acclaimed books Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality (1989), FTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in Society (1997, 2016), and 2015-Lambda-Literary-Awards-finalist The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future (2014). He has delivered lectures to audiences around the world, including more than 20 keynote and plenary addresses.
Elected member of the International Academy of Sex Research, and an elected Fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Former Dean of Graduate Studies (2002-2012) and a professor of sociology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.
Awards include Virginia Prince Pioneer Award (2018); Canadian Association of University Teachers Equity Award (2017); Gender Identity Research and Education Society Award (2011, shared with large team); Hugo Beigel Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (1994).
Performance and visual artist, storyteller, author, scholar (b. November 25, 1950, d. April 24, 2016)
Two-spirit Haudenosaunee trans woman from Six Nations area of Ontario.
Active from 1990s to 2010s, her work explored her various transformations on her journey of decolonization and educated the public to the fact that traditional indigenous societies did not divide people up into simplistic gender binaries. Maracle was a keeper and a creator of culture. She performed mostly across Ontario and Chippewa territories, but also exhibited an art installation and performance piece in London, England in 1998 at the Second International Transgendered Art Festival. She is the author of the book, Chronicle of a Transformed Woman (2000), and many articles.
The Aiyyana Maracle archive is housed in the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria. Full bio on their web site.
There is also a good article written by Nehiyaw Two-Spirit trans woman and artist Arielle Twist on the Canadian Art web site about her experience exploring the Maracle archive.
(b. ca. 1976) Consultant, researcher, social worker, author.
Part of the Toronto TS/TG community services sector since 1998, Strang’s work is community-based and focuses on youth, lower income, street-active, homeless, and sex working trans people.
Coordinator of the Meal Trans program at the 519 Community Centre until 2002. Founded Trans Youth Toronto, a community-based program directed by and for trans youth. Principal researcher with the 519 TS/TG HIV/AIDS booklet project which worked with trans sex workers in Toronto to develop an information and resource campaign targeting TS/TG people involved in the sex trade. Titled The Happy Transsexual Hooker, it was Canada’s first safe sex resource for trans sex workers and trans women.
(b. October 1, 1976) St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (2003), Memorial University of Newfoundland. At Memorial, they served as General Director of LBGT-MUN (now Sexual and Gender Advocacy)
Hickey is non-binary. Their transition was the subject of the 2017 documentary film Just Be Gemma which aired on CBC Television and the Documentary Channel.
Campaigned for LGBT rights through involvement with Egale Canada (serving as president in 2005), PFLAG Canada, and Canadians for Equal Marriage.
Received one of the first non-binary passports issued by the government of Canada, which uses the letter “X” for gender. In 2017, Hickey became the first person in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one of the first in Canada, to receive a non-binary birth certificate. Their application was initially rejected because the Vital Statistics Act limited gender designation on the application form to male and female only. Hickey filed an application at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador to challenge the constitutionality of the law. The province changed the legislation before the court proceedings concluded.
Awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for their contribution to LBGTQ2 rights in Canada. In 2017, was named a Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Champion for their longstanding commitment to human rights protection, particularly for LGBTQ2 people.
Founded the The Pathways Foundation in 2013, a non-profit organization that helps people deal with the effects of sexual abuse by clergy.
Hélène Micheline Montreuil
(b. 1952 in Quebec City) Lawyer, professor, writer, radio host, trade unionist and politician.
In 1997, she began a legal challenge against the Registrar of Civil Status of Quebec as she had not been permitted to change her name legally to Micheline. The court eventually ruled in her favour and her name change was finally accepted in 2002.
In a judgment rendered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal against the National Bank of Canada (2004 CHRT 7 decision of February 5, 2004), the Tribunal endorsed Micheline Montreuil’s position that there are “ subtle smells of discrimination ” that suggest the Bank illegally denied her a job and finds that the National Bank of Canada had acted in a discriminatory manner against her.
From 2006 to 2008, Micheline Montreuil was Co-Chair of the LGBT Committee of the New Democratic Party of Canada. She has also served as a member of the administration councils of the Canadian Human Rights Trust and Egale Canada.
Appeared on television to comment on several cases involving LGBT people or cases of discrimination.
Since 2016, Hélène Montreuil has been a member of the LGBT Committee of the Bar of Québec, the regulatory body for lawyers practicing in the province of Québec.
http://www.maitremontreuil.ca/ (en français)
Jamie Lee Hamilton
(b. September 20, 1955 at Vancouver, d. December 23, 2019.) Father was Irish, mother Chippewa-Cree.
Politician, writer, entertainer, and guest lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of British Columbia and in Humanities at Capilano College. Occasional sex worker. Advocate for Aboriginal people, residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and sex workers.
Transitioned in 1970. First youth in Canada to start a medical transition. Spearheaded once-a-week meal program for street trans youth at First United Church in Vancouver. Named Community Hero by Xtra West newspaper in 1997. Tried to bring attention to the victimization and violence directed at sex workers in 1998 when women were disappearing from the Downtown Eastside.
Ran for Vancouver city council in 1995, first trans person to run for public office in Canada. Director of Vancouver Pride. Independent candidate for the publicly elected Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in the city’s 2008 municipal election.
In 2016, she helped create a sex worker’s memorial in the city’s West End neighbourhood. Died of cancer in 2019.
Biography on Wikipedia.
(b. 1944) Graduate of George Brown College and Algonquin College in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. Technician and Building Systems Engineer. Educator.
Founding member of Gender Mosaic (Ottawa) and two time president (1992-95, 1997-2000). Formed alliances with LGB community and fought to include transgender in the City of Ottawa’s Pride proclamation, eventually succeeding in 1998. Member PFLAG Ottawa. Member of Ottawa Police Liaison Committee for 25 years representing the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans Communities. Member Pride Committee from 1994 and first trans Chair of Capital Pride Festival. Grand Marshall of Capital Pride Parade in 2008.
Appeared on local television news and radio shows discussing trans issues. Hosted radio show on CKCU Carleton University radio from 1999 to 2002.
With EGALE Canada and local trans activists, met MP Svend Robinson in 2003 to lobby for adding trans people to Bill C-250, Robinson’s private member’s bill to add penalties for publicly inciting hatred against people on the basis of sexual orientation.
Guest speaker at international symposium at UN Human Rights Commission in New York in 2014. Guest speaker at the Canadian Citizenship swearing in ceremony August 22, 2019 co-hosted by Capital Pride, a first for Citizenship Canada and Pride. Volunteer with Seniors Pride Network.
First Canadian to receive Trinity Award, at International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) Conference, 1999. Capital Xtra Community Lifetime Achievement Award 2006. Pink Triangle Services (Ottawa) Certificate of Appreciation 2006. Ottawa Police Community Service Award 2016.
(b. 1957) Flight school graduate. Pilot. Completed transition in 1990. Unable to return to her profession for 24 years. Carpenter.
After having endured an abusive relationship, Nixon wanted to volunteer with Vancouver Rape Relief, but was told “men aren’t allowed here.” Nixon replied that she was not a man and launched a human rights complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. Nixon was concerned that a trans person who called Vancouver Rape Relief would be turned away. In the meantime, Nixon became a volunteer at Vancouver’s Woman Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW).
In 2002, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal found that Nixon had been discriminated against. BC Supreme Court subsequently overturned the ruling asserting that the shelter had a right to choose its members under the human rights code and that discrimination was allowed in this case.
Kimberly Nixon appealed to the BC Court of Appeal, which in December 2005 upheld the BC Supreme Court ruling. In 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed her request to appeal that decision.
The Nixon case is important because it dealt directly with the issue of whether trans women are women. Subsequent court cases across several provinces resulted in legislative changes. Bill C-16 passed by the Canadian Parliament in 2017 finally encoded protection on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
b. 1966, Toronto, ON.
Former world-class cyclist and now an international inclusivity and diversity advisor, educator and public speaker.
After starting her transition in 1998, became the first athlete in the world to submit to the International Olympic Committee’s Stockholm Consensus, a gender verification process that would allow her to engage in her sport as Kristen. Though she fit their biological criteria, the IOC, international and local cycling associations and the World Anti-Doping Agency insisted that transitioned male-to-female athletes should not receive testosterone. They regarded the testosterone supplement as performance enhancing, although Worley required hormones to stay healthy and to compete, as her body after transition did not produce any hormones. Their ruling failed to recognize that born women produce testosterone also.
Because Worley had stopped competing, she was able to take her case to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, rather than the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is the only legal avenue for an athlete with a dispute who is still active in the sport. Thus, she became the first athlete to legally challenge the gender policies of the International Olympic Committee and related international sports bodies, which she successfully argued were designed to discriminate against female athletes. In 2017, the IOC agreed “to promote inclusive sporting environments,”
Also worked with South African middle-distance star Caster Semenya, who had challenged International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules that sought to control naturally high testosterone levels in female athletes.
With co-author Johanna Schneller, wrote Woman Enough, an account of her battle to dismantle assumptions about gender, especially in sport, through scientific fact.
(d. July 3,2012, age 40) Researcher and Community Worker. Education, Training and Research Consultant, 519 Church Street Community Centre, Toronto.
Member of the Gay/Bi/Queer Trans Men’s Working Group that created the FTM sexual health resource Primed, sat on the Investigative Committeee of the Trans PULSE Project exploring health as it related to Ontario’s trans population and was a co-principal investigator on the FTM Safer Shelter Project, which released the report Invisible Lives: FTMs and Homelessness in Toronto.
(Source: Trans Activism in Canada)
(b. 1943 d. 2017, age 73)
Auxiliary nurse, entertainer
Founder of L’Aide aux Transsexuel(le)s du Québec in Montréal (1980). Known as the “Mother Teresa” of Québec trans folks, she was one of the first to give media interviews in Québec on transsexual issues (1980) and made many media appearances throughout her life. Started a telephone help line for trans people and ran it for decades. Community organizer for the needs of elderly trans people.
Le Journal de Montréal obituary (en français)
b. 1956, Toronto, ON.
School caretaker with the Toronto District School Board (retired).
Toronto Pride Award in 2012. Subject of 2016 documentary Transfixed, which also highlighted her challenges as a trans woman with Asperger’s. One of 16 community torchbearers who carried the flame in the torch relay in advance of Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.
In August 1998. Stonehouse had been approved for gender confirmation surgery (GCS), but in October of that year the Ontario government delisted GCS from OHIP, leaving Stonehouse along with several others no choice but to pursue legal action.
With support from CUPE and lawyer Susan Ursel, who worked pro bono, she launched a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Stonehouse won the right to complete her surgery, as did two others whose approvals had been cast into limbo. However, the surgery itself remained de-listed. The government of Ontario eventually relisted gender-confirming surgeries in June 2008.
Became involved with the labour movement in 1999 as her case with OHIP ground on. Sat on her local’s equity committee, the Pink Triangle committees of both CUPE Ontario and CUPE National, and the pride committees of both the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
Part of Trans Lobby Group with Susan Gapka and Rupert Raj, whose work and political lobbying eventually made Bill 33, (which added gender identity and expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code) a reality in 2012.
Martine Stonehouse’s oral history is available from the ArQuives.
(b. 1969) Sex worker, artist, videographer
Activist in anti-poverty and AIDs prevention work within the transsexual community. Worked to educate service providers about transphobia and the needs of transsexual women. In 1998, she became the founding coordinator of the Meal Trans Program at the 519 Community Centre in Toronto and, the following year, she founded the Trans Sex Worker Outreach Program.
Co-published the ‘zine Gendertrash (1993-1995). Founded the Counting Past 2 (CP2) festival, a performance/film/spoken word festival with “transsexual nerve” that ran from 1997-1999 and then again in 2002.
Created videos and short films on gender, sexuality, animal rights and the transsexual body. She has argued that the lack of acknowledgement of the role of class by queer community organizers and service providers results in lower class individuals, such as trans sex workers, being excluded or underserved.
Mirha-Soleil Ross fonds are housed in The ArQuives (formerly the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives).
(b. France, raised in Vancouver). International High-Tech consultant; on the Canadian Technology Management team of an international big-box electronics retailer. BC NDP candidate in Vancouver – False Creek during the 2017 BC general election; ran for School Trustee in the 2019 Vancouver General Election as an independent. Served on the executive of the BC New Democratic Party for four years – two of which as Vice-President.
Chair (in 2017) of the Trans Alliance Society in Vancouver, member of Vancouver Board of Education’s Pride Committee and Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee. Founder of the Morgane Oger Foundation, advocating for change to laws and public policy that affect vulnerable people. Advocacy work featured in Cannes Short Films Festival award-winning short documentary “In Alliance (2016)”, as well as “1253 Letters (2017)”, and “Morgane Oger: Moving Forward (2019)”.
Won a precedent-setting human rights case against an anti-LGBT activist that affirmed personal beliefs or the right to free expression do not trump another person’s right to live free of discrimination.
Kimberly Nixon Pride Legacy Award in 2016; Shakti Trailblazer Award in 2018. Awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Governor General Julie Payette in 2018 for her work in extending human rights for LGBTQ2+ persons in Canada. (December 2020)
(Born 1952 at Ottawa.) LGBT Mental Health Counsellor Private practice, RR Consulting. Bachelors in Psychology (Carleton University, 1975), and a Masters in Counseling Psychology (Adler School of Professional Psychology, 2001)
Founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT, 1978-1986), a lobbying and educational organization for transsexuals. In 1983, Raj founded the Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) and edited Metamorphosis Magazine and Metamorphosis Newsletter. Continued his trans activism in Toronto, co-founding in 1999 the Trans Men/FTM Peer-Support Group, the Thursday Night Group (2000) and TransFormations (2003-04). Co-led the Gender Journeys group (2006-13). Gender consultant and psychotherpist from 2001-2015, and published author.
Honours include City of Toronto Access & Equity Human Rights Pride Award and Youth Role Model of the Year Award (2017). Rupert Raj fonds are housed in The ArQuives (formerly the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives). (December 2020)
(Born 1925 at Meols, UK, died May 8, 2017) Castle was a naval officer, a marine insurance underwriter, ship owner and real estate developer.
Vancouver-based author and activist, and founder of the Zenith Foundation and Zenith Digest. Castle wrote and published a number of titles about transsexualism and its related social, family, economic, political and employment issues.
(Source: Transgender Archives, University of Victoria)
(b. 1950s) Degree in Political Science from York University & a diploma in Community Work from George Brown College. Campaigner for social justice, affordable housing, homelessness, mental health, harm reduction & lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans issues. Employed as an Education and Training facilitator at The 519 (Toronto) in 2015 in the Education Department .
Elected to CUPE Ontario Pink Triangle Committee in December 2017 and appointed to CUPE National Pink Triangle Committee in January 2018. In June 2019, elected to CUPE Ontario Executive Board as the Pink Triangle representative. Founder and chair of the Trans Lobby Group, helped lead a lengthy campaign to persuade the Minister of Health to fund Sex Reassignment Surgery for trans people in Ontario, helped change the Vital Statistics Act sex designation so that trans people’s legal documents more accurately reflect their lived identity, and helped amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to include ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’. Helped mount a national campaign to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code Hate Crimes to include protections for gender identity and gender expression .
Served on the Board of Pride Toronto which hosted World Pride 2014 and is past Fierté Canada Pride’s Central Regional Director for Ontario. (December 2020)
(b. 1921, England – d. 2009, Hamilton, ON) School teacher
Treasurer of the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (FACT) under Rupert Raj. Helped create chapters in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, Montreal and Winnipeg. Cofounded the Toronto chapter with Raj. Took over FACT and renamed it Federation of American and Canadian Transsexuals until 1986 when it foundered. Along with Raj, did community outreach and public education across southern Ontario, and presented Trans 101 educational workshops for university students, doctors, nurses and the occasional psychotherapist. Agreed to act as Secretary-Treasurer when Raj formed the Metamorphosis Medical Research Foundation.
(Source: Rupert Raj, Dancing the Dialectic)
Syrus Marcus Ware
(b. 1977, Montreal) Holds degrees in Art History, Visual Studies and a Masters in Sociology and Equity Studies, University of Toronto. Syrus is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.
Visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth-advocate. As of December 2020 Assistant Professor in the School of the Arts at McMaster University. Member of faculty and designer at The Banff Centre.
Toronto based Black, transgender, disabled artist, activist,scholar, and published author. Inaugural artist-in-residence for Daniels Spectrum (2016/17), a cultural centre in Toronto, and a founding member of Black Lives Matter Toronto.
Founding member of the Transparent-cy Working Group at The 519 Community Centre. Helped initiate the Trans-Fathers 2B course. Member of the Gay/Bi Trans Men’s HIV Prevention Working Group for the Ontario AIDS Bureau and one of the creators of “Primed: A Back Pocket Guide for Trans Guys and the Guys Who Dig ‘Em”.
Curator and artist. Works within the mediums of painting, installation and performance to challenge systemic oppression. His work explores the spaces between and around identities; acting as provocations to our understandings of gender, sexuality and race. Part of the Canadian Jury for the Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival in Toronto in 2013, the Intergenerational LGBTQ Artist Residency Jury in 2015 and 2017, and the Ontario Public Service exhibition jury for “Queer Landscapes, Queer Journeys: Reflections of LGBTQ rights and struggles in Ontario today” in 2015 and 2017. Part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and member of the Black Triangle Arts Collective (BTAC), a visual arts collective dedicated to exploring disability, racial and economic justice.
Awards include Arts Diversity Award winner (2017); Steinert and Ferreiro Award for LGBT community leadership and activism (2012); Arts and Culture Award, Lesbian, Gay, Bi & Trans Youth Line. Toronto, Ontario.(2004).
b. 1968, Halifax, NS
Writer, activist, cultural critic, and university professor. B.A. (1992) and M.A. (1994) in creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal. Ph.D. in English Literature at York University (Toronto)
Author of Lyric Sexology, Vol. 1 (2014), Wanting in Arabic (2002), and numerous scholarly articles.
Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction 2014 (for Wanting in Arabic).
While a teaching assistant at York, was politically active in the Canadian Union of Public Employees as the first transgender representative to their National Pink Triangle Committee.
Currently teaches in Gender Studies at Queen’s University (Kingston). Her creative and scholarly work addresses transgender and transsexual politics and experience, transgender literature, theory and cultural production, postcolonial literature and theory, diasporic Arab identity and culture, anti-racism, queer politics and economic and social justice. Her poetry moves between and combines traditional and experimental forms.”