Canadian Trans Activists

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. These biographies are not intended to be comprehensive, but rather 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.

Aaron Devor

(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).

https://www.uvic.ca/transgenderarchives/about/index.php

Joanne Law

(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.

Kyle Scanlan

(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)

Mirha-Soleil Ross

(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).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirha-Soleil_Ross

Morgane Oger

(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)

https://morganeoger.ca/

Rupert Raj

(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)

Stephanie Castle

(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)

Susan Gapka

(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)

Susan Huxford-Westall

(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)

https://zagria.blogspot.com/2009/08/susan-huxford-westall-1921-2009-school.html

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).

https://syrusmarcusware.com/