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Each year, Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) hosts a national Summit on GBT2Q health, where healthcare providers, community-based organizations, and community advocates come together to engage with the most innovative and exciting GBT2Q health research, programs, and initiatives happening across Canada.

ACT invited three Ontario-based artists to participate, learn, and engage with folks across the country in this year's Virtual Summit. Through art, activism, and storytelling, they share with us their insights and reflections on HIV prevention, HIV treatment, mental health, substance use, and community engagement. 

Check out their incredible work below. 


Of All Stripes
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"Of All Stripes is a support/health zine that I created for Queer Asians in Toronto. The title references several things, including the idea of various queer identities being represented in the saying “of all stripes” (in the Pride flag); as well as the fact that tigers, a striped creature, are only found in Asia. It’s a vague reference, but one that struck me as important for this zine, despite not including any tiger imagery (at least, for now).

I originally wanted to create a zine that only really had tons of resources for queer Asian folks, but as I sat in on the Summit and listened more to what folks had to say, I started reflecting on my own stories. I believe that stories are the base of all knowledge production, power, resistance (as per A. Sium and E. Ritskes’ Speaking Truth to Power: Indigenous Storytelling as an Act of Living Resistance) and realized that in order to make something meaningful, I had to include my stories in this Zine, as well.

As such, this zine is part reflection (via comics and short blurbs) and part resource-sharing, which I feel fits well with the Summit sessions I had the pleasure to attend. It is my hope that people are not only able to find support via the resources listed, but that, in some way, queer Asian folks find hope and solidarity via my reflections. From resources that help us support other movements to resources that let us support ourselves, I hope queer Asians are able to use this zine as a starting point on their journey to healthier bodies, relationships, and experiences."

- Dany Ko (Toronto)

Community resources:

MXKO, also known as Dany, is a diasporic Filipino/Chinese queer deaf person who focuses on creation and storytelling as a way of connecting to, building, and reimagining community. Recently, they have been leading workshops and discussions on topics such as intersectionality, reimagining identity, storytelling as healing, and Queer Asian pride / solidarity with other movements.  They are currently open for commissions and bookings in leading workshops / discussions.

You can follow Dany on Instagram: @Mxkocreates or check out their blog:


Standing -N- Truth
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"This song inspires me and speaks to the journey of so many Gay/Queer men who are constantly navigating and standing in their truths." 

- Robert Ball (Toronto, Stratford)

Performed by: Robert Ball
Guitar: Eric Lundgren
Videographer: Jordan Mah
Song Written by: B.Slade
(from the Documentary, Standing -N- Truth)

As a singer songwriter I am a soulful artist with jazz sensibilities. I make meaningful music and connect most as a singer and actor with subject matter that speaks to human experiences. I want people to feel, think and to be moved by any myriad of emotions.

Connect with Robert online: 

Two Spirit Silver Fantasy
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Project Title: Fantasy (Echo and Narcissus)

"It deals with the myth of the mountain nymph Echo and of Narcissus, the beautiful youth who rejected Echo and fell in love with his own reflection, and teaches us is to beware the trap of vanity or self-adoration. One glance at his reflection in a pool of water and Narcissus is helplessly captivated. Though he realizes after a while that he's fallen in love with his own reflection, he still can't turn away.  

With the lockdowns that the world is experiencing we find ourselves looking inward and distantly. 

Lollipop as Echo and with my one settler Daniel Stilla is a molecular biologist as Narcissus.  

They helped me explore this myth which also speaks to colonialism with my two spirit queen pining away for her settler. With Dave William, my photographer and makeup artist and drag queen Alynne Peacock my frosty silver infinity room was brought to life." 



Project title: Two Spirit Silver Fantasy

"Thank you those who were kind enough to collaborate with me to create this series of photos: 

My elder Gilbert Deschamps Lake Helen - a lawyer formerly of the Lakehead Law School 

Harley LeGarde-Beacham of Fort William First Nation   

Lou Atlookan of Eabametoong First Nation - a multimedia artist  

Edward Perrier an Inuk Anishinaabe as Lollipop a pandemic drag beginner.  

It was wonderful to be able to bring all these people together before the current lockdown. i was only able to achieve this project because of the lack of community spread in Thunder Bay being isolated in the northern boreal forest has been a complaint of ours for years till the present situation. We count ourselves fortunate for our regional isolation.  

The seminars I chose to attend at the CBRC Summit 2020 was the land acknowledgement and the defund the police talk. and i watched from a previous year other talks from Andrew Gurza and Dr. James Makokis. This helped shape my need to incorporate the wealth of my region and that is its healthy two spirit population." 


Michel Dumont (Thunder Bay)

Boozhoo! My name is Michel Dumont i am a queer metis two spirit disabled a mixed media artist from north western Ontario I am the intersections of all these identities and it informs and quides my art process. I spent years being told not to identify as any these communities and i am grateful to be able to express myself fully.


Textile Portraits of Queer Visionaries
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Project Title: 3 Portraits of Queer Visionaries

 Francisco Ibanez Carrasca pointed out that narratives about HIV positive gay men’s lives focus primarily on their marginalization and suffering, at the expense of ignoring the role of pleasure and vitality in these men’s lives. I included a red ribbon for HIV activism, and a red heart on a black background to signify Carrasca’s affinity for leather culture.

I was deeply touched by Jack Saddleback inviting the conference attendees to contemplate what kind of ancestors they would like to be. His sharing of indigenous teachings has reawakened my yearning to learn more about my roots, and reminded me of my commitment to healing the present and nurturing future generations. I placed an Indigenous Medicine Wheel to his left (close to his heart) and the viewer’s right (to those who read left to right, this placement signifies the future), and placed him in a natural setting, as a descendant of the original stewards of this land.

I have been a longtime fan of Kai Cheng Thom’s work, and appreciate her nuanced understanding of conflict, harm, and justice within communities. Her parable about community conflict that featured Sun and Moon deities served as the inspiration for the background of her portrait. The five red flowers symbolize the fragmented body parts of the Love Goddess, and the life that sprouted as a result of her death. The green vine represents growth and healing. The number five and the colour red are considered to be auspicious in Chinese culture - an homage to Thom’s ethnic and cultural background. 

The slow, meticulous artistic process of crafting these symbolism-rich portraits allowed me to honour these individuals and their messages with deliberate attention, which is a precious commodity within the productivity culture. As an AFAB nonbinary person, I once avoided working with textiles, as I was misguidedly trying to distance myself from anything that could be perceived as feminine. However, as I  become more secure in my identity, I am better able to embrace my expression in its wholeness, and reclaim the forms of expression I had once given up. I am no longer exiling parts of myself that do not fit others’ narratives of who I am.

Artist Bio: Kat Singer

I am a nonbinary, queer, and neurodivergent multimedia artist based in Tkaronto. I’ve been engaging in a self-directed exploration of Oxford punch needle rug hooking since 2019, entranced by the mindful flow and the three dimensional possibilities of this medium.

My worldview is enriched by listening to the voices of those whose lived experiences are different from mine. Using a mix of natural and synthetic fibers, I have created three textile portraits of queer visionaries - keynote speakers at the 2021 CBRC conference - whose ideas resonated with me.

Portraiture is a practice that allows the artist to immortalize their subject, as well as convey the artist’s emotion toward them. My medium of choice - loops of yarn embedded in cloth -  resists perfection. Like a story that’s transmitted orally, the image that emerges from this intricate, iterative, mindful process is uniquely imprecise, and is as reflective of the narrator/artist - their skill, mindset, motivation/s, interests - as it is of the subject. 

Connection to community has been a unifying theme across the keynote speeches - and I used symbolism to create connections between the individual works in this series. 

I integrated all of the seven colours of the rainbow into each portrait, denoting the subjects’ ties to the queer community. For each individual, I also included symbols that are particular to the communities they belong to and that allude to the specific aspects of the keynote speeches.

In All Directions
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“In All Directions” is a film-poem created in response to Kai Cheng Thom’s keynote plenary “Choosing Love at the End of the World: Social Collapse, Conflict Resolution, and Queer Resilience” (delivered at CBRC’s Summit 2021). Key topics include: transformative justice and abolition, conflict and accountability, community and harm reduction. This film-poem is intended to embody key messages around the loving justice framework, including “conflict as an invitation to transform our worlds”.

The poem of “In All Directions” centers the starfish allegory – that two halves of a severed starfish can live on independently and grow entirely new arms, or re-merge to become whole once again. It focuses on the relational understandings of trauma, safety, and accountability. Specifically, the motif of arms is used to embody the methodology around engaging in loving justice – the reaching done towards self, others, and community.

The visuals of “In All Directions” center water due to its intimate connections with life and sustenance, depth and spaciousness, and touch as a relational sensory experience – in addition to being the starfish’s habitat. The movement and soundscape of the waves is intended to invoke a meditative, introspective quality key to engaging in this type of work. Additionally, the act of typing visually depicts a practice of intentionality in a literal way. The notes app is specifically highlights the importance of digital communication and phone use to different facets of pandemic, poor, and disabled living.

Video Description 

It is 3 minutes and 3 seconds in length. It features a looping clip of blue-green waves crashing against a formation of several rocks during a sunny, windy day. A prominent subject is the white crests, which form because of the waves breaking and scattering droplets and light in all directions.

On top of this loop appear a succession of cropped windows of a phone’s notes app, depicting the artist typing out the poem (black sans serif font on white background with red blinking cursor). At times, other windows of various sizes and opacities appear that isolate and repeat individual parts of the poem as it is typed.

A document of the piece’s written copy is also available.

Artist Bio 

Jasmine Noseworthy Persaud (they/them) is a nonbinary, mad and multiply disabled, digital media artist of Guyanese and English descent. Their creative work seeks to create breathing space for survivors and queer, disabled, racialized communities. Through film-poetry, they are interested in drawing connections between micro and macro levels of intimacy, interdependence, and care. Through illustration, they are dedicated to the explicit representation of diverse bodies – especially those that are 2SQTBIPoC, visibly disabled, adorned with cultural and religious garments, and of all sizes. As a facilitator, they are committed to the building of accessible and accountable safer space and to continue skill-building to do so. Jasmine carries a continued investment in maintaining reciprocal community relationships through the arts. As a whole, their space-making and storytelling is part of an intentional practice to honour the body and all that it holds.

Most recently, Jasmine was selected as a featured storyteller in the public arts project, Dis/Play, created by Ophira Calof in partnership with the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto/Miles Nadal JCC – part of ArtWorxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022. Jasmine was also a contributing illustrator for the Two-Spirit, Trans, and Nonbinary mental health affirmation colouring book “Tales of Our Truths” by Consent is Golden at Wilfrid Laurier University. Jasmine is a graduate of X University's RTA School of Media and has been a local arts vendor and facilitator in Tkaronto since 2016. 2022 marks 10 years for them as a freelancer in creative industries.