The first time I say Saylesh Wesley she was entering a conference room. She slipped silently into a seat by the facilitator and they exchanged smiles. Saylesh started her conversation by asking us to think about the letter ‘F’ on our drivers license. I thought that was peculiar but I did. Then she went on to talk about a trip to Germany and going through customs. Saylesh said she did not have a problem leaving Canada but on the way home from Germany they looked at her identification and could not understand the ‘M’ on her I.D.. Saylesh said all hands were on deck to help them figure out this situation. After that trip Saylesh Wesley was approved by a group of people that she could change her I.D. from ‘M’ to ‘F’. She also mentioned that she was the only woman requesting that change was approved that day.
“Coast Salish people, particularly the Stó:lõ of the lower Fraser Valley, have lost much of their language, histories, and teachings as a result of colonization. One such important identity that has been forgotten or erased is the two-spirited role. The author wishes to revitalize the cultural roles of transgendered/two-spirit people within the Coast Salish territory and ways in which they historically contributed to their societies prior to colonization. Traditionally, the Stó:lõ are matriarchal and matrilineal, and only grandmothers can create any new laws for their descendants. Thus given the vital role played by the author’s grandmother in her process, this essay is a long-overdue proposal to all living grandmothers not only to stand by and accept their two-spirited grandchildren but to call for a celebration of their coming out. This visionary work serves to inspire future generations of Stó:lõ to fully embrace all members of their community, especially two-spirits. The first Sts’iyóye Smestíyexw Slhá:li, or Twin-Spirited Woman, as this essay is about, offers an example to this sacred work.”
There are many ways to advocate and bring attention to a situation. In 2014 a Writer Trans Genre was hosted by the University of Winnipeg. Here is a link to the presenters. Unfortunately, not all publications accepted transgender voice: ‘ Women of the Navajo’ rejected Sharnell Paul from participating in a calendar because in their terms ‘your not a real woman‘.
This advertisement was beautifully done, giving the point of view of the daughter. Well done Vicks. There was no mention of transgender pronouns or the basic facts of what it is like to transgender. It was about the love of a parent and child. When a place was needed this woman opened up her home and heart and showed her humanity. In the ad it did not matter if her mother was passable as a woman it only mattered that she was loved and cared for.
This one shocked me. I did not see this coming on Survivor when Zeke Smith was outed for being transgender. Jeff Varner was hoping to safe himself from elimination by throwing Zeke under the bus by calling his action of not sharing his sexual transition as being deceptive. Not only did Jeff Varner get removed from Survivor her also lost his career as a real estate agent when is MLS (multiple listing service) license was revoked.
I know there are many dangers for people living transgender: beating, murder, losing their jobs and family. But I hope that one day people will see them as I do, a spirit coming into their own. There is nothing more lovely to watch then to watch someone grow into their purpose.