A little bit of transgender history was made at the University of Victoria this weekend.
The school was the site of the largest conference on transgender issues ever held in Canada.
People came from all over North America with a singular goal in mind.
“I’m a trans man, so I was assigned female at birth. I came to meet more community and get a better understanding of how to encourage progress to happen,” said Chase Blodgett, who traveled from Whitehorse, NWT for the conference.
Nowhere in Canada has been more progressive than Victoria when it comes to trans gender rights.
“It’s quite supportive, theres a lot of resources. Its becoming a trans mecca and i’m really excited to be here,” said transgender UVic student Damien Stevenson.
It all makes the University of Victoria the perfect place to hold the largest conference on transgender issues in Canadian history.
In Januar, Dr. Aaron Devor was appointed as the Research Chair of Transgender Studies, making him the only person in the world to hold that title.
“The ultimate goal of all of this is to reach a place where transgender people are treated with full dignity and respect in society and not marginalized and stigmatized, said Devor, who added that Canada, and particularly Victoria is leading the way world wide, “People in society generally have a positive attitude in terms of – yes, transgender people should be treated well – but are somewhat ignorant of how to do that.”
It’s also a rare opportunity for a somewhat fractured community to get on the same page.
“There is some infighting in the community and its so refreshing to see people banding together and say no matter where you come from we’re all united in the fight for equal rights for trans people, said Stevenson.
But Devor says there is much work that needs to be done in the community , and they hope to have made major progress by the time this conference comes back to Victoria in two years.