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Myseum of Toronto and The ArQuives invite you to join us for a roundtable discussion about trans activism in Toronto between the 1960s and 1990s. Speakers Monica Forrester, Mirha-Soleil Ross, and Rupert Raj will reflect on some of their foundational actions that helped create sustainability, kinship, and activist culture for the rights of trans people. This intergenerational roundtable will explore the implications and impact of communities whose members self-determined their own definitions of sustainability and health, as their own advocates in the face of violence, oppression, and adversity. The panel will be moderated by Sly Sarkisova.

Monica Forrester is a Two-Spirit trans woman, a community activist, a sex worker, and an important piece of Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ history. Monica has an ongoing and intensive life of advocacy work in Toronto. She is the Executive Director and founder of Trans Pride Toronto. She formerly worked at the 519, where she contributed to Trans Programming and was the outreach worker for the Trans Sex Worker Outreach Programme. She is currently the program coordinator of the Aboriginal Sex Workers Education and Outreach Project at Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project.

Rupert Raj is transgender activist, trans social author, and former psychotherapist. Raj is a transgender pioneer who dedicated his career to clinical research, counselling and advocacy for the transgender community. Raj established (and co-established) some of Canada’s earliest trans advocacy organizations, including the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Transsexuals (disbanded). Raj also established the first national transsexual newsletter in Canada, Gender Review: A FACTual Journal.

Mirha-Soleil Ross is a transexual videographer, performance artist, sex worker, and activist. Since the early 1990s, her work has focused on transsexual rights, access to resources, advocacy for sex workers, and animal rights in Montreal and Toronto.

Sly Sarkisova is a Psychotherapist, Consultant, and Clinical Supervisor specializing in trauma informed therapy, mental health and addiction recovery.

This roundtable discussion is a associated with the ActiVisions exhibition within Mysuem’s Intersections Festival, a free city-wide festival running April 15th to 30th.

More about ActiVisions

In this one-of-a-kind exhibition, The ArQuives opens their doors for the public to experience their extensive Trans Collections. Curated by Tobaron Waxman, this exhibition explores the history of trans activism and resilience in our city. Curator Tobaron Waxman offers a unique lens on Toronto’s trans community, focusing on the history of community, resistance and care under extreme circumstances.