Participants: Skinner family; Participants: Skinner parents; Activism; Bill 77; Community; Conversion therapy; Outness
Tara: You talked a little bit about going to Queen’s Park. Can you talk to us about uh your parent activism there? It’s moved from the school to Queen’s Park!
Alex: Yes! You’ve been there a few times!
Jessica: I don’t even know how it started, but -
Jonathon: I think it started at the original transgender flag raising.
Alex: That’s right, they raised their flag.
Jessica: Yes, I said “Oh my God, we’re worried, we’re tying to do all these things, what about like something fun where we can go and celebrate this!”
Jonathon: We need a positive experience to put under the transgender cone.
Jessica: It was just after she became Stella. So I found out there was the first trans flag raising at City Hall. So I thought you know, this is perfect. So we got all fancied up, and we went down, and we saw the flag go up. And we saw other trans people who were like, encouraging her.
Alex: They wrapped her in the flag.
Jessica: They wrapped her in the flag!
Alex: It was the cutest thing.
Jessica: And she uh, we arrived to City Hall and she said “We’re going to a flag raising, because I’m transgender!” And it was the first time she said it aloud! And I’m like, I could feel it coming out, you don’t have to! But I didn’t, I was just like “I’m proud of you! You’re so-“ you know! Because it was, it was great, it was just weird for me. So we did that, and uh, you know, we’re leaving and she’s looking back and she’s seeing that flag that represents her, and she’s like “We should come back tomorrow and see it!” And I’m like “It won’t be here tomorrow, honey.” But um...
Jonathon: You met a lot of friends.
Jessica: Yes, we met a couple activists, and then we saw things that were going on in the community. There was this uh, Sherry Denovo was trying to ban conversion therapy with people under the age of 18. So we went for the second reading, and uh, you know, she met some people and got to go to Queen’s Park and see how people legislate, like as much as she could pay attention. I actually brought all the kids, so we could all see what was going on. And then um, they invited us back for, for the justice committee meeting where they could discuss, there was either side. So I was whispering into Stella’s ear “Okay this person is this person, and this is what they’re saying about this, and this person is opposing it because they think this.” And just trying to simply explain it to her. So by the time it was like third reading, she knew was it was, she was passionately against it. She was like “I hate reparative therapy!” And she’s you know, like really really like serious about it.
Alex: She came out with better speech material than I did.
Jessica: Yeah, and then so, we went and um, you know, and they were clapping and I was like “This is the moment” and she was like “I can’t wait until this isn’t just Ontario, this is like Canada!” So she was thinking like beyond herself. And um, and then yeah, a reporter showed up and um, put his mic in her face and he was like “Why are we here, maybe mom can help you!” And she’s like “Um, I was in the chamber to hear the third reading of Bill-77 to ban conversion therapy for um, people in Ontario.” And he’s just like “Woah!”
Alex: “You’re six?”
Jessica: But it’s so important to me that she knows why she’s there! She’s not some puppet, I’m not there, like I don’t-
Alex: Yeah, exactly.
Jessica: I don’t want anything, you know, like we don’t want publicity for our family for our family’s sake. But she was the only kid there representing something that would affect people just like her. And she had to know why, I wanted her to know why. We discussed it on the way there, on the way back. It’s a long journey. And, uh, so when it happened, we just, we squeezed each other’s hands because you’re not allowed to clap. It was just such huge deal, and she knew what it meant. So yeah, so I think we’ve offered up so if there’s anything else in the future that she could be...
Alex: She really wants to make it better and easier for other people.