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SimonThibault.com

Journalist. Food Writer. Producer.

Filtering by Tag: Transgender

Telling, not exploiting a story

The month of January is barely half done, and yet there have been some major news stories about the lives of trans people. 

There was the story of Cece McDonald, a transgender woman who was imprisoned for 41 months after stabbing a man who attacked her. McDonald was imprisoned in a men's institution - even though she does not identify as such- but was released after 19 months.  Orange Is The New Black's Laverne Cox had been championing McDonald's cause for quite a while, and McDonald's release could not have come at a better time. 

The reason is that Cox had just been a guest on the Katie Couric show. Along with guest Carmen Carrera, Cox took the opportunity to discuss why it is inappropriate to focus on one specific part of the experience of some transgender people: namely, the state of their genitals. 

As it happened, within days of the Cox/Couric/Carrera interview, a story I had been working on for a few months for Vice was published.  The story detailed how more and more transgender people are accessing crowdsourced funds to help pay for costly sexual reassignment surgeries, or SRS. 

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In an op-ed I later wrote for Daily Xtra, I confronted the issues around discussing the lives of trans people. It is often too easy to exploit the subject of a story, rather than simply tell it, especially when one can justify a certain line of questioning - and exposing - by stating that "a general audience would not understand."  It's too easy to limit not only the scope of the story, but the breadth in which a writer can tell a story. And when we as journalists do this, everyone loses. 


News - December 1st, 2012

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I've been enjoying writing for East Coast Living for a couple years now.  Recently, I wrote a story about the joys of rediscovering old recipes, as well as the wonders of baking bread at home

I also had the great fortune to talk with a few mushroom hunters/foragers/amateur mycologists in a story for The Coast.

Over at Xtra, I wrote about how a group of local activists wanted to amend the Nova Scotia Human Rights Bill to include "gender expression" and "gender identity" in the act, therefore providing written legal protections for transgender individuals. A little over a month after that story appeared, things were already on their way to changing. The changes to the bill have now passed.

News - April 4th, 2012

As much as I love writing about food and queer issues, I am still a big lover of the arts.

Luckily, I have had the opportunity to write about the subject and some rather interesting individuals in that field.

The Coast recently published an article I wrote about a series of lectures on contemporary sculpture happening here in Halifax. Over at Xtra, I had the chance to interview photographer/publisher Amos Mac.  Mac publishes Original Plumbing, a magazine about and for trans men, but it’s his photographs that I can’t get enough of.

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Crop Top Soldiers, by Amos Mac

I’m a big fan of Michael Cyril Creighton’s Jack In A Box webseries, so it was great to have the opportunity to talk to him. On the international side of things, I had the chance to interview gay jazz crooner Steven Gallavin.  I even wrote a quick blurb about a wonderful short film called“This Is What Queer Looks Like” for my Down East blog.

I’m still writing about food of course.  I had a great time writing about what to eat for under $12 for The Coast.   As I had mentioned in a previous post, I recently interviewed Michael Ruhlman on the topic of charcuterie for East Coast Living.

 

News - November 28, 2011

One of the great things that my recent position as a blogger for Xtra has given me is the chance to write on a daily basis. I’ve had the chance to write on a number of topics, from pop culture to current events.

I’ve taken to organising the posts thematically on the blog, with such categories as Popping Culture and more. Here are a few examples.

Op-Eds
Op-eds are pretty self-explanatory. I recently posted an editorial about the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I also wrote about the RCMP officer who is blowing the whistle on improper behaviour in the handling of the Pickton case in B.C.

Queer Halifax
Halifax has a lot of interesting queer stories. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Lyn Murphy, who is part of a group of LGBTQ elders called Elderberries. I also wrote about how Halifax’s Youth Project created a mosaic to celebrate transgender individuals’ lives.

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Love Letters To The Past

I firmly believe in revisiting and embracing the past, especially in terms of understanding cultural (and sexual) identities. I am a huge fan of the film and love how, 20 years later, it’s still a landmark of documentary filmmaking and queer culture. In the same vein, I also am a fan of oft-forgotten queer icons, such as Sal Mineo.

Arts
One of my favorite things about writing online is the immediacy in which people have access to certain things, such as art and artists themselves. We now have access to scenes that before,we would only hear about. For example, there is an artist based out of Los Angeles who has created a worldwide queer art phenomenon called Homo Riot. Films have also become much more accessible, in the case of artists like Jaime Carrera, who recently helped to create a silent film about the culture of online dating and cruising.

Open Letters
And lastly, I’ve also always been a fan of the open letter. It allows a more personal and often anecdotal way to speak to, rather than of a subject. I’ve written them to Scott Thompson andJohn Waters.

Stay tuned for more updates.