Web series celebrates personal stories of transgender people across Canada

WATCH ABOVE: The Transgender Project is an online collection of profiles designed to record, share and celebrate the personal stories of transgender women and men from across Canada. Susan Hay reports.

TORONTO- The Transgender Project is a web series designed to share and celebrate the personal stories of transgender people from across Canada.

Kevin O’Keefe, senior producer of the Transgender Project, created this series when he discovered that the main reason transgender people delay transition is due to the fact that there are a lack of positive transition stories, and he wanted to change that.

“I think growing up gay in the 80’s and 90’s, I’m not gonna say it was just as bad, but there were certainly lots of things I was concerned about,” said O’Keefe.

“So it’s been really emotional for me, really touching, really therapeutic, to have the opportunity to tell these people’s stories similar to something I went through.”

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Pina Newman is one of the many individuals in the Canadian transgender community that has shown strength, courage and determination in overcoming obstacles and adversity. At the age of four, she started to fight the gender she was assigned at birth.

“I learned a lot of negative coping strategies to help not feel bad … substance abuse was one of those,” Newman said.

“It never really went away for me … I just learned how to suppress those feelings.”

It was around the age of 22 that Newman began to embrace her true self.

Today, she attends Ryerson University with the hopes of becoming a nurse. She is also a strong and outspoken advocate for transgender rights.

The Transgender Project highlights the fundamental challenges the trans community faces each day.

This includes challenges to basic human rights such as the right to a home, employment and personal safety.

“All we’re trying to do is just show people, in a non-threatening way, that these are people’s lives,” said O’Keefe.

“Just let them transition, let them be themselves, and they can make this world a better place”

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