Nanook and Kulu, Toronto
Identity: Non-binary Inuk from Inuvik, NWT
'I prayed to Creator for the last 8 years to find the perfect dog, but it wasn’t until 8 months ago that I finally felt secure enough to look after a dog. I guess Creator knows when the time is right. Shortly after I got Kulu, I had top surgery, and she got spayed - we were both healing together. It was a difficult time and she got really sick. I stayed up with her, and looked after her in a way that it was clear no one ever had - and that was it, we’ve been inseparable since. We both understand trauma and we both thrive when we have security and trust. She was adjusting to city life post-surgery, and I was growing into my new body. We did it together, side by side.
Like many trans people, I struggle with social anxiety - it’s rife in our community. We grew up in bodies that felt wrong, and in Western culture, our gender identities are very misunderstood. I’ve recently come to learn that in my Inuit culture, trans folks were looked up to and were integral parts of our communities before colonization. My mom went to an Indian Residential School and she died due to the lifelong impacts of it. They tried to take our identities, our language and our land away. They tried to take everything. It’s hard to live in a society that is constantly trying to kill me but my history and our sacred identities won’t be erased.
I’ve started a new life. Since I got Kulu I barely drink, I got engaged, my fiancé and I are planning to have a baby and I’m building my future. I’m one of the lucky ones to have survived, and I’m going to continue to thrive and be a leader for future generations. I owe it not just to myself, I’m doing it for my mom and all the other beautiful Indigenous, trans and gender diverse people who deserve good lives.'