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Reluctant’ activist and trans poet to participate in three-generation Indigenous panel – The Kingston Whig-Standard

by ahnationtalk on February 26, 202067 Views

In one of the final poems of Gwen Benaway’s fourth collection, day/break, she writes: “I have no monument big enough to hold my dead. Every day, a new name blossoms. This one shot outside a bar. This one strangled in her bed. This one stabbed 40 times by her lover. This one beaten by a pack of men.”

Given that one of the intentions of Benaway’s collection to simply ask “what it means to be a trans woman,” it certainly suggests that marginalization, fear and violence continues to be an everyday reality for the transgendered. In fact, when asked about this and similar passages in day/break, it’s disturbing how quickly and matter-of-factly Benaway can offer her own example of violence.

“One day I was just walking down the street in my neighbourhood and someone walked behind me, hit me in the back in the head, started physically assaulting me, broke my glasses, gave me a concussion,” says Benaway, in an interview with Postmedia from her home in Toronto. “I got away by running into a building. You never know what’s going to happen to you when you’re a trans woman in the world and you always have to be prepared for it.”

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