Aurora and Twiney, Toronto

'I came to Canada in 2018. I had a few relatives here and a small group of friends from when I had studied back in 2016, but that was all. I came here as a refugee having no choice but to leave my own country. There were no role models of trans people where I lived, being trans wasn’t something that happened. There were other words for transgender women but they had very negative connotations. It took me some time to figure out who I was, and the fear of being “different” delayed my process of self-acceptance. It was only when I met some trans women at Friends of Ruby that I saw myself reflected for the first time in my life, and only then I had the courage to be myself.

I started transitioning shortly after that and then bang -  covid hit.  People who had said they loved me suddenly disappeared. I'm naturally an introvert but this was isolation on a whole new level. Transitioning alone in a new country where english isn't your first language during a pandemic is hard. 

My mum still doesn't understand. She says I'm a man and I was born a boy. I say to her that she labelled me a boy and then treated me with an arbitrary set of rules and expectations of what some people think it means to be a boy. I would say to her, and indeed the world that such rigid expectations are harmful to many. We don't need different rules for boys and girls. That's how misogyny and inequality happen surely. This is 2021. Just let children be children and express themselves in a way that feels comfortable to them. 

I heard about the Don't You Want Me Rescue Fund through Friends of Ruby and applied straight away. I’d always had a dog by my side in my ‘old’ life. Twiney bounced into my life in April this year and changed everything. I started going out for walks in nature again; I started being responsible. I had a routine and I was looking after someone else's life. Adopting Twiney and transitioning have been the two best decisions I have ever made. Of course not everything is perfect (not yet anyway). I still need to find work and build a family here for us. For both myself and Twiney, Canada has given us not only our freedom, but undoubtedly our lives.'

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