Project Coordinator Arthur Dave Miller
It was with great excitement that the CAAN National Transgender Project, Sharing Our Wisdom, a Gender Diverse Project with a Focus on Trans, was launched in November of 2015. The response to the project has been overwhelming with an enormous amount of interest across Canada!!!!!!
The project examines how current realities directly impact access to care, community supports, and a stigma-free life. These realities include being Indigenous, gender-diverse, and HIV/HCV or co-infected in a colonized society with ongoing transphobia and HIV/HCV-phobia and entrenched policies and beliefs.
The project created a working Steering Committee of Gender Diverse Indigenous Peoples Living with HIV and Hep C. The Committee also includes a few Transgender allies. This team of brilliant people worked very hard in a short time to create a Terms of Reference as well as a vision statement, goals and next steps. There is also an online survey where data is being collected and will be used to move this project forward under the direction of CAAN in the future. There is closed Facebook page where members can share experiences and has proven to be a great asset.
The project has been working hard at conducting a series of Sharing Circles across Canada, collecting the voices and concerns of Indigenous Transgender Peoples. These Sharing Circles have been very successful in attendance in Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. After all of the Sharing Circles have been conducted there will be a National Gathering to report on the findings of the information received.
As a highlight, The Sharing Our Wisdom Project for the first time carried the Transgender Flag in the Grand Entry at the CAAN Annual General meeting that was held in Montreal in June of 2016. The Project was also presented during the Skills building sessions with a great attendance that included some of the funders for project. The project was also presented by the Steering Committee Chair and the Project Coordinator at the Global IAS conference in Durban, South Africa and received great reviews.
This project is vital and timely, which can be seen in the strong engagement and sharing of lived experience of the Transgender communities across Canada.