A (lengthy) Little Background:
I’m B. (Yup, that’s my actual full name!)
I’m a thirty-something transguy who hails from a rural community named Hardisty, Alberta, Canada. I’m married to the most amazing and supportive partner in the world – Alix, and together, we have our little menagerie of creatures – three cats, a rambunctious pup, two turtles and a bunch of fish. It’s our perfect little family. I’m a paramedic, currently in nursing school ready to start the next chapter of my unique journey in healthcare and patient advocacy. I’m a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Committee for the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) – where my goal is to provide the best possible healthcare system and resources for LGBTQ folks in rural Alberta.
I grew up around here but Alix is from the U.S.; I somehow convinced Alix to move here from New York City – not that it was much of a culture shock or anything! (There may have been bribery with pie).
Our little town has maaaaybe 500 people if you include a few furry family members in there too. Hardisty is one of the largest hubs for the production and distribution of Canadian gas and oil in our country, so we have a ton of transient workers that come through at various times of the year. It’s also a thriving area for farming and ranching – primarily grain and cattle. With it being a small community, everyone knows everyone and if something happens there’s a good chance that your neighbours are going to know about it before you even get home. Living in such a small centre can be a blessing and a curse. When someone needs help, the community comes together and supports each other like you couldn’t believe. But there is also a lot of stigma about ‘traditional values’ and ‘fear of the unknown’. As you can probably imagine, coming out and a gender non-conforming queer wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. There were a few ups and many many downs, but I made it. I’m here today and I have a wonderful support system to thank for that. I’m incredibly proud to say that living in a very conservative, traditional town has not been a struggle at all. We’ve been accepted wonderfully and openly and have made many lifelong friends.
Now, I want to make myself available as a support for all other folks from small communities who feel isolated and alone. Dealing with strong emotions is 100% easier when you have a friend by your side to work with.
This project has been something I’ve been dreaming up for years and I decided that it was just time to get up and get it going. I know that there are people all over our country and other great nations who live in small rural areas and could use some perspective from someone who understands the challenges. I was fortunate to have an amazing family and group of friends who were integral in me being where I am today, but I know not everyone is that lucky. I want this to be a resource for people who relate, people who are curious but afraid to ask, and simply as a source of information for anyone and everyone!
I have people contacting me several times a week with questions, comments, concerns or curiosities about the ins and outs of gender non-conformity and queer issues. I take great pride in being asked these questions and try my hardest to pass along appropriate, relevant and useful information.
Oftentimes, prejudice is just ignorance. People come off as sounding disrespectful when in fact, they simply didn’t know better. Other people seem non-supportive when they are actually so afraid of saying something wrong that they choose to stay silent rather than offend someone. If I can help people bridge the gap of awkwardness and uncertainty, then my effort will have been well worth it!
So don’t be shy, introduce yourself or send me a private message if you prefer to stay anonymous- this is a safe place.
You have my word on that.