Throughout this year, young people have been finding creative ways to connect with one another while making a positive impact on their communities. One of our youth leaders, Brodi-Tyler, took this goal to heart and created a magazine for transgendered people to learn more about the fashion of the gender they are transitioning to through our program, Lead On.
He signed up for our first ever LGBTQ2S and newcomer youth leadership program this February, with his goal being to learn about leadership and to empower others to do the same. This free program ran for 9 weeks, and participants attended workshops with mentors on activism/advocacy, employment skills, mental health, and more.
Through this program, Brodi-Tyler successfully hosted and planned the group’s virtual art gallery, an event where all program participants share a reflection piece. The final part of the program encourages participants to submit a community service proposal to address an issue close to their hearts.
Brodi-Tyler and the Youth Outreach Worker at SfC, Syvanne, had a great conversation about his project and the program as a whole:
“For transgender people, building your image and expressing yourself in the way you want and the way you feel is right can be essential to quality of life.”
Hi Brodi-Tyler, can you tell us a little bit about why you wanted to join the program, and what your favourite part was?
I wanted to get experience with other people in a group setting and by the end was able to focus on what I wanted to get out of the program, which was more knowledge on what I can offer and how I can provide my skills and values. In general, it brought out more confidence in myself and in the group, everyone seemed more comfortable by the end and knew where their passions lie.
My favourite part was the community and unity aspect of the program. We built our own space between everyone, so it was comfortable to share and connect with each other.
Can you tell us about the Virtual Art Gallery you hosted and your magazine in particular?
The art gallery was an event to show the work that we put in and everybody’s passions and ambitions for wanting to make a change in the world. We all wanted to express a certain experience, which is really important because it can allow people to understand others better.
My topic was about fashion with transgendered people, and I came to this conclusion by determining what my community needed. I listed off the needs of trans folks, including trans gender clothing and body positivity, which was what popped out at me. For me personally, I have always loved fashion but have also struggled with it. I had a completely different wardrobe before I found out I was trans. I had to completely change my image and so I realized I wanted to help others get through that. This is a way to build community so people can shop together and get feedback together. For transgender people, building your image and expressing yourself in the way you want and the way you feel is right can be essential to quality of life.
What inspired you to create your magazine?
At the time, I was trying to build myself more of a personal brand, so how I did that was to get my friend to write a character description. I then drew myself as a cartoon with all these symbols, realizing the way that I want to portray myself and show people parts of who I am and my story. Through that I realized that I want to be an activist and work with transgender folks.
I also used to make magazines for fun as a kid so I thought I could make a magazine for fun right now and incorporate it into the program. I’ve always been astonished by making something out of nothing so I think that bringing people together and building and creating a space to be present and really feel like you’re living to your fullest out of nothing is what I want to do.
What are the next steps for the magazine?
The next steps are going to be to create a community and add people into it. I’m going to decide on a social media app and get people connected to start conversations. I want there to be a peer support group where some people can feel that they can be peers to help guide and mentor others who feel that they need/want mentorship. Some people have a lot of insight on fashion or style already so they’ll be able to share their experiences. Everyone is equally valued and has their own things to bring to the table, so I hope to amplify the voices of the community.
Discord may work because you can start conversations where people can voice their opinions/experiences and share their stories.
What do you recommend people who want to support your magazine do?
The best way to support it right now:
- If you are 18-30 and identify as transgender you can request to join the Peer Iconic group on Facebook.https://www.facebook.com/groups/peericonic
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get directly involved, I am looking for participants who want to be involved in the community and outreach
- I would like to have a contact list of companies that are transgender friendly spaces for participants to be able to shop. For example, I was scared to go to a barber for the first time, so if I knew of a place that was gender neutral it would have helped
Please join the Peer Iconic Facebook Page if you are a transgender friendly shop or service in Toronto or you are just an ally that is looking to keep updated and apart of the network.
Is there anything else you wanted to mention about your project or the program as a whole?
Finding yourself and the way you want to express yourself can be really hard and you don’t have to do it alone, you can have people with similar experiences and going through similar things can be there to support you. That’s what I want to build: a community there for each other through support and through sharing your values with each other.
Everybody has something to offer, so when you combine and connect all those things it really builds a solid foundation for moving forward and building yourself.
For more information on Brodi Tyler’s magazine and/or to get involved, feel free to email him at email@example.com.
Want to get involved with our youth team? Take a look at our upcoming programs:
- Isolation Doesn’t Mean Isolated… Youth Programs Info Session – May 19th 4-5pm
- Newcomer Youth Circles: Mental Health program – Wednesdays & Thursdays from 4-5pm until June 30th
- Lead On: Intro to Entrepreneurship and Leadership – June 1st-July 1st
- Youth Expo Volunteer Committee – Recruiting now!
- Youth Leadership Series with the Toronto Public Library – Monthly event
- Intensive Youth Leadership Program: happening this July
- Youth Literacy Program
- Weekly Virtual Youth Drop-In
If you are interested in any of these programs, email/call our Youth Outreach Worker for more information. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 416-658-3101 ext. 276