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Pride Stories: Charlize

We are grateful for the participation of Charlize and the other women who sat with our team to share their personal Pride stories in celebration of Pride month. Please note that all thoughts and words belong to the women who wrote/dictated them; only minor edits have been made for grammar and brevity.

My name is Charlize and I am an Indigenous Trans woman from the east coast of Canada, a place called the Miramiche, New Brunswick. I’ve been a foster child since 1966. I moved here in 1989 because I was looking for some work and thought I’d stay a little longer and eventually started a family here.

I’ve lived in the Downtown Eastside now for 32 years. Throughout that time It took many years of trials and errors to finally find a direction to go as I followed my journey to become more my authentic self by coming out as a Trans woman. I know there are many more roads to travel in my journey.

There’s a lot of hurt and pain in the Downtown Eastside and as a Trans woman, there’s a chance you’re not going to make it and it is hard to learn to survive on your own. People don’t always realize when they are stepping on other people’s toes and being hurtful.

I always try and look past the negative experiences and focus on the positive things in my life. One of the things that keeps me going each day and gives me purpose is my volunteer work. I like being able to help people out and that’s what makes me happy. I’m grateful to have had a loving foster family and I always carry on with the philosophy that I learned in AA and NA is to take life one day at a time and move forward with positivity. I know that I have people in my life who love me and now, including my granddaughter.

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