John Fitzsimmons of Nanaimo is part of a project that encourages transgender people to write about their personal experiences, which are being compiled into a collection of their works. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo teen helping to tell transgender stories

Dover Bay grad John Fitzsimmons involved in Trans Tipping Point Project

Stories about transgender people are coming to the forefront but a lot of those stories aren’t told by trans people themselves, according to a Nanaimo teen who’s picked up a pen to share his own story in a new anthology.

“The idea of putting out information and experiences about trans youths that were actually written by those youths themselves is just sort of a really cool step forward in my opinion, because we’re actually handing the power over to the people who’ve experienced these things rather than the people who are kind of interpreting their stories,” said John Fitzsimmons, who’s involved in the Trans Tipping Point Project.

The project is meant to empower young writers to write their own stories for an anthology and to seek policy change.Fitzsimmons, a recent Dover Bay Secondary graduate, heard about the Trans Tipping Point Project online and was interested in the idea of an anthology of trans youths’ experiences that people could read and learn from.

He’s participated in two writing retreats this year, where he’s met other trans youth and connected with mentors.

Fitzsimmons said sometimes with niche experiences like being transgender, a lot of people don’t relate to it and it can be seen as weird.

“So you are kind of discouraged from sharing it or talking about it, but when you get to kind of get together with people who know what you’re talking about, you also kind of come away encouraged to share a little bit more,” he said.

Through the project, he’s also joined other transgender teens in meeting with Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Education, to propose policy changes, like a basic, universal inclusion policy across school districts.

“I’ve had a very positive experience at school so I was kind of there to give a little bit of an example of what is being done right and what we would like to see in all schools,” he said.

That youths are not only expressing themselves, but advocating for change through the project is inspirational to Tash McAdam, a mentor and editor for the anthology.

“The power, the magic that is in those spaces with those young people is indescribable,” McAdam said.

The new book hasn’t yet been published, but will feature work from 25 transgender youth.

McAdam said it’s hugely important for other trans youths who are looking for stories to connect to, people to identify with and maybe voices that echo their own feelings and experiences, but also for cisgender people to hear the lived experience of trans people, particularly trans youths.

Fitzsimmons wrote three pieces for the book and that it’ll be published is “pretty cool,” he said.

The 18-year-old is now helping to lead the project, with plans to organize events to help create leadership opportunities for young people and continue to empower them to tell their own stories.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs Vancouver Island man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Langford theft investigation leads to national crime ring

More than $250,000 in stolen goods recovered, $67,000 in cash seized

Pumps not needed to keep Cowichan River running this year

Wet year so far has resulted in higher water levels

VicPD uses ‘less-lethal’ rounds to remove woman barricaded in stranger’s basement

The woman is believed to have broken into a dealership, attempting to steal a vehicle earlier in the evening

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Most Read