‘I want it to be a more inclusive city’
Four Calgarians share their hopes and fears.
This feature is part of The Sprawl's 2044 edition, which culminated in a limited-run newspaper. For her contribution to the paper, local writer Beatrice Aucoin spoke to Calgarians in marginalized communities about what they want for Calgary. You can read more of Beatrice's Q&A's and other exclusive stories in our freshly-printed paper.
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Rebecca Holm, 33, she/her, Mount Pleasant
How would you describe yourself? I’m a transgender woman who has been living full time as a woman for the last two years.
What should people know about you and your community and/or culture that you don’t see in media? Visibility is an issue here in Calgary. I knew nothing of a trans community in Calgary before I had to seek it out for support. I’ve only felt like I’ve had community for the last two years, and I’ve known that I’ve been trans for a long time. It took me a long time to get to the point where I was comfortable enough to come out.
What hopes do you have for Calgary in 25 years? Obviously, I want it to be a more inclusive city, more open to the LGBTQ community. There’s still an anti-gay part of this city. There’s an upcoming provincial election where my community is afraid of what could happen, mirroring stuff that’s happening in the US and Ontario. It’s scary out there. There’s still a lot of work to do for visibility, for acceptance, for supports.
Tiffany Sostar, 37, they/them, Rosscarrock
How would you describe yourself? Bisexual, both in my attractions and as a political label. My gender is nonbinary. I work as a narrative therapist and community organizer in the queer and trans communities and quite a few other marginalized communities.
What should people know about you and your community and/or culture that you don’t see in media? One thing I think people should know about queer, trans, neurodivergent, disabled, and otherwise marginalized communities is we have so much skill that we bring to navigating the contexts we’re moving through. We have so much insider knowledge into how to support each other when we are not receiving systemic or structural support. I think we see a lot of needs- and deficit-based narratives, but actually there’s so much that we are doing in our communities.
What hopes do you have for Calgary in 25 years? We have a bit of reputation for being a conservative city, but we also have this incredibly vibrant undercurrent of queer, trans, disabled, racialized. In 2044, I would hope that Calgary has become a hub of organizing from within marginalized communities, building resources and structures and systems of support and collective care.
We have a bit of reputation for being a conservative city, but we also have this incredibly vibrant undercurrent of queer, trans, disabled, racialized.
Runhildr Ulfhrafn Zaetl, 38, she/her
How would you describe yourself? Queer, pansexual trans woman, who loves writing, photography, cats, hiking, electronic dance music, tattoos and my partner, Shailynn.
What should people know about your community and/or culture that you don’t see in media? Gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation are entirely different things, and gender is a spectrum that includes non-binary/genderqueer folks.
What hopes do you have for Calgary in 25 years? I hope we don't spend the next 25 years stuck under yet another bigoted conservative government. It would also be nice if we could get fluoride back in our water.
Su-ying Lim, 35, she/her, Sunalta
How would you describe yourself? I’m Asian, born in Canada but raised overseas. Don’t speak Chinese. Do like some of the culture; don’t like all of it. I’m a provocateur.
What should people know about you and your community and/or culture that you don’t see in media? A lot of the time, Asians are treated like we’re the acceptable minority. We’re everywhere. We’re quiet. We don’t get in anyone’s way. But I’m tired of being nice. I’m tired of being brushed aside.
What hopes do you have for Calgary in 25 years? Basic income to improve quality of life; not only rich people deserve peace of mind. More cycle tracks would be great, better transit, more accessible options. It would be great if we had more affordable options for daycare and after-school programs so if you wanted to work part time, they could accommodate moms and dads.
Beatrice Aucoin is a queer writer originally from Cape Breton. She lives in Calgary’s East Village with her wife, their son, and rescue cat.
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