“Continually question and re-evaluate how spaces can be made more accessible, and take action to reduce barriers for marginalized folks.”

-Janine Heber

Age: 19

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta

Affiliations: Queer Flex, Sexual Violence Awareness/Office of Human Rights, Plan International Canada Speakers’ Bureau, Rainbow Alliance Youth for Edmonton, The Quiltbag, MacEwan Office of Sustainability

Tell us about yourself!

I am a queer, non-binary artist, activist, and student. I have a background in yoga-inspired movement (RYT-500) and am currently studying psychology and gender studies. I am passionate about creating safer, trauma-sensitive, and inclusive spaces and services for LGBTQIA2S+ communities, especially within the context of health and wellness. I also love creating and supporting art as a powerful tool for social change. Currently, I am part of the Edmonton Speaker’s Bureau, a youth-led gender equality initiative organized by Juliana Kaneda. I am excited to work with Queer Flex, which is Canada’s First queer-centred non-profit gym. I am also a member of the youth committee of Rainbow Alliances for Youth Edmonton (RAYES), which aims to promote increased understanding, knowledge, and empathy around the experiences of LGBTQIA2S+ communities.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

Be an ally to LGBTQIA2S+, especially QTBIPOC. Educate yourself. Recognize intersectionality and remember your privilege. Advocate for gender-neutral bathrooms and language. Language is a powerful tool. Cis-folks can practice stating their name and pronouns during introductions to help normalize this practice and reduce the emotional labour experienced by trans people. Support non-binary/trans activists and artists. Reflect and challenge your own and other’s oppressive ideas. Who is represented? Who is not? Ask who is left out of conversations, spaces, services, and question why.

What inspires you to make a difference in the world?

I think a huge part of reducing inequality is increasing representation, especially supporting diversity in conversations around gender equality. Volunteering and working with organizations that support youth and increase understandings of LGBTQIA2S+ communities is a big part of that for me.

Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) is a global goal I am incredibly passionate about in my work. Structures of inequality make health and wellness inaccessible to marginalized people. I aim to prioritize the health of LGBTQIA2S+ communities by offering accessible trauma-informed classes, developing a queer-centred health resource guide, and supporting organizations with similar missions.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Janica Altea L. Echavez

"Encouraging young women and men in STEM is key to gaining more leaders and problem solvers that can address our current concerns in new, innovative ways." -Janica Altea L. Echavez Age: 23 Hometown: Cebu, Philippines Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Next 36 Canada, Canadian Commission for UNESCO Youth Advisory Group, Science Expo Canada, Foundation of Student Science and Technology I was born and raised in the Philippines. While we owned a family exporting business, I was...

Alex Wong

"As an advocate, it is important to recognize your own privilege and help elevate the voices of others, rather than replace them with your own." -Alex Wong Age: 22 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: MD Admissions Initiative for Diversity and Equity, Medical Students’ Association - University of Alberta, Canadian Federation of Medical Students, Net Impact My passion for medicine stems from my belief that good health is one of the cornerstones of...

John Christy Johnson

"I urge you to pay back to community, leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the prospective engineer, scientist, or astronaut, and pass the baton as you strive for personal success." -John Christy Johnson Age: 22 Hometown: Angadical, Kerala, India Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: University of Alberta Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory, ClickandPush Accessibility Inc., TEDxUAlberta As an Indo-Canadian and identical twin, I spend a fair proportion of my time thinking about...

Lindsay Brouwer

"We need to promote the idea that your gender does not limit you with what you chose to do with your life." -Lindsay Brouwer Age: 28 Hometown: Lethbrdige, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Young Nurses Take Action Foundation,Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad, Project Amazonas, Stollery Children’s Hospital First and foremost, my parents were the most influential people in shaping who I have become. They provided me with constant unconditional love and...

Glenielia Ariel Crawler

"Be a changemaker by being a leader. Think big and believe in yourself. Be resilient; work with communities. Do what moves you." -Glenielia Ariel Crawler Age: 27 Hometown: Big Horn First Nation Currently Residing In: Morley First Nation Affiliations: Nakoda Youth Council- Mni Ki Wakan My name is Glenielia Crawler, but I also go by Ariel Waskewitch. I am Nakoda Sioux and Plains Cree, and I come from the small community of Big Horn First Nation. I am a proud mother to my three-year-old daughter...

Ameer Farooq

"To improve gender equality, we need to understand the issue through data and research and make informed decisions that get at the heart of the problem." -Ameer Farooq Age: 29 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Alberta Health Services The corridors of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Hospital are smeared with the stains of spit-up paan. There are people everywhere—under the stairs, in every chair, in every bed, some moaning, some simply staring with large...

Elizabeth Roden

"You don’t have to do something on a grand scale; just live your values and stand up for what you believe in." -Elizabeth Roden Age: 29 Hometown: Glendon, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Operation Eyesight (ACGC Member) From an early age, I’ve always believed that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I helped form a leadership group at my high school and was eager to learn more about world issues. In 2007, I moved to Calgary to pursue a degree...

Karl Narvacan

"Be inclusive and accepting of other people’s ideas and habits, and you can be a changemaker for gender equality." -Karl Narvacan Age: 29 Hometown: Manila, Philippines Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society, Choosing Wisely Canada As first-generation immigrants from the Philippines, our family faced a common challenge—navigating the health care system. I vividly remember going to the ER one day when I had a severe toothache, only to...

Mabel Smith

"It is important to find something that you love doing and that you feel has a positive impact on the world." -Mabel Smith Age: 22 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers in Action I have always felt a strong sense of environmental and social responsibility. While still in elementary school, I became an obsessive recycler as well as a vegetarian, and I would carry home banana peels and apple cores to compost. More recently, I have developed...

Saige Godberson

"In the face of adversity, do not settle but rather speak up and create change." -Saige Godberson Age: 23 Hometown: Spruce Grove, Alberta Currently Residing In: Spruce Grove, Alberta Affiliations: Youthnited Nations International, Stollery Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sigma Nursing Honors Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Special Olympics Edmonton I often say that “if everyone makes a small change, together we will make a big difference.” As a registered nurse in...
Share This