By Abra Brynne, Policy Director
It takes a lot of courage to be visibly different. Many of us who do not fit into the neat boxes of the norm choose to hide how we are different, unless we know for sure that in that particular time and place it is safe to be seen. And in our white-dominated communities, there are many who have no choice but to be seen – and yet we render them invisible in so many ways in our daily life.
In 2021, we added a tool to our Farm & Food Directory to enable Indigenous, Black, other People of Colour, Youth, and LGBTQ2S+ individuals to self-identity in our Directory. Our purpose was to enable those who so choose to promote their identity, with the hope that it would better enable people to proactively support their businesses.
It is often much safer to stay hidden than to declare that one is different. Nevertheless, services and proactive policy cannot be effectively developed for specific communities if they are not known. For the first time last year, Canada’s national census provided an opportunity for people to self-identify as transgender and non-binary. No other country in the world has taken that step yet. And those who chose to self-identify as transgender or non-binary in that census are now captured in our national statistics and will help decision makers to understand, embrace, and provide services for transgender people around us.
Like so many others who are impoverished and marginalized within our societies, transgender and non-binary people are at greater risk of food insecurity. The new data provided by Statistics Canada can help all of us to better understand and take action to support the food security and well-being of transgender and non-binary people in our communities.
The print version of our 2022 Farm & Food Directory has just been distributed to outlets across the Central Kootenay. So far, we have 4 BIPOC-owned and 3 youth-owned businesses self-identify in the Directory. We have not had any businesses self-identify as queer yet, but we are glad that we have this option available for them when they choose. In the meantime, you can use the Directory to seek out and support the many other wonderful local businesses that greatly contribute to our region’s food economy and culture.