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Alphabet Soup: Series 1 “Invitation to Unlearn”

February 7 @ 1:30 pm - March 7 @ 3:30 pm

Join us for the first series of a 2SLGBTQIA+ learning journey exploring discrimination, community, history, and hope across Nova Scotia.

Alphabet Soup: Queerness at the Kitchen Table

Series 1: Invitation to Unlearn

Welcome to the kitchen table! The first series of this learning journey “Invitation to Unlearn” is a 5-part webinar series aimed at providing a foundational understanding of queer experiences across Nova Scotia historically and in this moment. How have things changed from then until now? What myths are we still holding as a society? What does coming out look like in 2023? How do we recognize the multiple identities and lived experiences of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community?

Series 1 will set the context for the following learning journeys, as we listen and engage with diverse voices from Nova Scotia’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Each session will focus on a different learning topic highlighting a panel of storytellers who will share their experiences with the audience.

Hosted by Madonna Doucette (she/her) of the Cape Breton Youth Project and moderated by Alexandra Theroux from IONS, the session format will include a knowledge, content portion followed by a storytelling panel and break out sessions as applicable. Participants will have an opportunity to engage with the speakers through a Q&A will period.

The team intends to compile compassionate support resources to offer to learners, and also offer live support in a breakout room. The breakout room will be hosted by Andrea Currie (she/ her); Andrea is Saulteaux – Metis and a member of the queer community. She is an activist, a musician, and works as an Indigenous mental health counsellor.

Meet Your Alphabet Soup Hosts:

  • Session 1: Tuesday, February 7th: Words Matter
  • Session 2: Tuesday, Februay 14th: Love and Family
  • Session 3: Tuesday, February 21st: Queer AND… (Intersectionality)
  • Session 4: Tuesday, February 28th: Queerness at the Kitchen Table
  • Session 5: Tuesday, March 7th: Queerness Then and Now

Session 1: Words matter: becoming your authentic self

Feb 7th , 2023 – 1:30-3:30

Unlearning of binary biases of gender and sexual identities and experiences begins with words; words that can harm, words that can communicate diversity and solidarity, and words that can heal. In this first session in the Invitation to Unlearn series, three storytellers from the Cape Breton Youth Project team will share how words have shaped their journey of becoming their authentic selves.

Storytellers/speakers (CBYP staff team)

  • Sefin Sefura (he/him)
  • Jay Denny (she/they/nekm)
  • Bradley Murphy (he/him)

Story Prompts:

How have words shaped your journey of becoming your authentic self? How have words healed or affirmed your identity?

What are the words that you have claimed, reclaimed to step into your authentic self?

Session 2: Love and Family

Feb 14th, 2023 – 1:30-3:30

In recognition and challenge of Valentine’s Day, this session will offer some ‘myth busting’ about love. Three storytellers with diverse love experiences will share the myths that they have had to ‘bust’ to be in a healthy relationship (with themselves, or others).

Storytellers/speakers

  • Luna LeFort (she/her)
  • Emily Kane (she/they)
  • Dave Miller (he/him)

Story Prompts:

What are some myths about love that you had to ‘bust’ to be in a healthy relationship (with yourself, with your family, with your partners(s)?

Share your love story

Session 3: Queer AND… (Intersectionality)

Feb 21st, 2023 – 1:30-3:30

Many members of the queer community hold additional identities, visible and invisible, that add complexity to their journey towards being their authentic selves, psychologically and socially. Five queer storytellers with intersecting identities around race and disability will share their experiences.

Storytellers/speakers

  • Suzi Oram Aylward (she/ they)
  • Tyler Colburne (he/him)
  • Ceilidh Isadore (they/ them)
  • Carmel Farahbakhsh (they/them)
  • Chris Cochrane (she/her)

Story Prompts:

How do the multiple identities you hold show up?

How do you navigate the complexity of your various identities while striving for your whole authentic self?

Session 4: Finding yourself and coming out, queerness at the kitchen table

Feb 28th, 2023 – 1:30-3:30

In the Maritimes – difficult conversations traditionally happen around the kitchen table – meals, celebrations and hard truths. What stops people from coming out or not? What happens when you must let people go? How does the queer community provide safety? Five people from the queer community share their coming out stories.

Storytellers/speakers

  • Suzi Oram-Aylward (she/they)
  • Jason Spurrell (they/them) (aka, Rouge Fatale (she/her)
  • Bradley Murphy (he/him)
  • Rae Paul – (they/them)
  • Sefin Sefura (he/him)

Story Prompts:

Share a story about your coming out – what about your experience needs to be heard?

Session 5: Queer Community, Then & Now

March 7th, 2023 – 1:30-3:30

Through activism, advocacy, solidarity, celebration, and love, the queer community has been alive and growing strong in Nova Scotia for many decades. Four storytellers from across generations share their perspective on the positive change they have experienced.

Storytellers/speakers

  • Madeline Yakimchuk (they/them)
  • Veronica Merryfield (she/her)
  • Rebecca Rose (she/her)
  • Leykey Beals (they/them)

Story Prompts:

What is the biggest positive change that you have seen in your lifetime in/for the queer community?

What does the community need now and how does this look different from different generational perspectives?