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Loss can exist through death of a loved one, but can also exist through the loss of a homeland, a community, or other aspects of our identity. These pages illustrate the ways in which our everyday experiences of racism, addiction, disability and mental illness shape our grief. Additionally, the violence inherent in colonialism, sexual assault, criminalization and transphobia further isolate us and make us vulnerable to more violence.

This book came out of a series of conversations with my community about complex traumatic loss in these challenging times. I painted images and text as an embodied reflection of these exchanges.  It is my intention that we highlight the nature of our specific struggles while also possibly offering some recognition and hope for others. Each participant has been given TOOLS FOR TODAY books to give away for free to the communities and individuals of their choice.

Thank you to all the people who generously participated in the creation of this book.  Especially for the vulnerability and wisdom shared with me in these pages.

Jordan Arseneault is a drag performer, artist, writer, meeting facilitator and translator. His staged work and participative workshops address issues of queerness, HIV and social injustice. 

Pat Aylesworth is a POC who is originally from Papua New Guinea and grew up in Winnipeg. They have worked many years in low barrier support services and supportive housing in Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Cindy Baker is a contemporary artist based in Western Canada whose work engaging with queer, gender, disability, fat, and art discourses draws upon 25 years working and organizing in her communities.

Thirza Cuthand is a 2 Spirit nêhiyaw with bipolar disorder who lives with wiener dogs and makes videos and performances. She identifies as a boy Butch and lives in Toronto, but hails from Saskatoon Saskatchewan.

Simonne Durette is an Ojibwe woman from Long Plains Manitoba, Winnipeg. She is a self taught artist who is currently in the works of becoming a 2D animator.

Bent 3isha Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, Bent 3isha identifies as queer post-muslim and a survivor of sexual, domestic, immigration services, academia and corporate managerial-class violence. 

Sheena Hoszko is a sculptor, anti-prison organizer, and Polish settler living and working in Tio’tia:ke / Mooniyang / Montréal. Her art practice examines the power dynamics and violence of geographic, architectural, and psychological sites.

Jess MacCormack‘s practice engages with the intersection of institutional violence and the socio-political reality of personal trauma. Working in various mediums (installation, video, performance art, digital art, painting, community art and activism) their work explores queer identity, embodiment and criminalization. 

Milena is originally from Treaty 13 (Toronto ON) but, after living in various cities across Canada and a few internationally, has found home on Treaty 1 territory (Winnipeg MB). She is an ex-member of the artworld and has been infinitely happier since leaving it. 

Mikiki is a performance and video artist and queer community health activist of Acadian/Mi’kmaq and Irish descent from Newfoundland, Canada. Their identity as an artist is informed and intrinsically linked to their history of work as a sexual health educator and harm reduction worker. Mikiki’s creative themes often address safety and responsibility, disclosure and self-determination, community building and reckoning with trauma and loss.

Morgan Sea is a cartoonist, performance artist and trans*’pataphysicist based out of Toronto. She likes cats, comics, cuddling and alliteration.

karen elaine spencer born: year of the silver-fish. early childhood: softly sings stories to crumpled-up tissues in the back seat of the family car. adolescence: runs away from home to study the fine art of forgetfulness. at present: rambles, loiters, dreams.

Kai Cheng Thom is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and mental health community worker. She has published four books, including the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir, the poetry collection a place called No Homeland, a children’s book, From the Stars in The Sky to the Fish in the Sea, and I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World, a book of essays centered on transformative justice.

Malek Yalaoui On Malek’s best days, shey is no longer running away from herself. That means reconciling the seemingly contradictory pieces of shey’s identity and practicing solidarity with anyone whose liberation makes possible her own. This can also be called healing. Shey has lived half her life on the island of Tiohtià:ke which, in the Kanien‘kehá:ka language, means ‘broken in two’ in honour of the Kaniatarowanenneh river splitting open.

Alexus Young is a two-spirited, trans woman that  hails from Swan River, Manitoba who moved from Winnipeg to Toronto ten years ago.  Her video work, created with Jess MacCormack, has been screened nationally and internationally at ImagiNative, Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, MIX-26th New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, and many other festivals and events