“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.

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