Teo, Taigra, and Timeline, Toronto
Identity: Trans man
'We were both working long hours in Brazil. I was working for myself and had been doing really well, but then the work suddenly dried up. I struggled to find more work and the days gradually started to become meaningless. I felt worthless, like I had let my wife down and that I was a burden. We couldn’t go home or even get help from our families because they didn't approve of our relationship.
It wasn’t that Tai didn’t want a dog, it was more that we weren't in a position to look after a dog. Without my income, it was hard to even look after ourselves. But I knew a dog would help. I knew she would get me back on my feet, and I knew that would mean I could afford to look after her and my wife again. Timeline not only gave me purpose and got me well, she was the bridge to rebuilding the relationship with my mum.
Brazil is where we are from, and I love my country and my people, but I never truly belonged, I could never be myself, not fully. It’s hard putting on an act. Even now when I reach for Tai’s hand, I sometimes get that rush of fear jolting my body, knowing this was something that could have got us attacked or even worse, back home. When Bolsonaro won the Brazil election in 2018 it was our signal to leave.
Toronto and Timeline gave me my life back. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t feel like the luckiest person alive. I went back to school here to study something that I love. I won prizes for my work. I can wear clothes that feel like me and have a short haircut. It feels like a different person that wanted to end their life because they felt like they had failed. I still remember the words of those close to me when I came out to them. I can’t even repeat them here, but I’m not the one who failed - they are.’
Editor’s note: Between the time of the shoot and the publishing of the narrative, Teo came out as a trans man. I couldn’t be prouder to know Teo and everything he’s achieved. We were all in tears at his initial project interview talking about everything himself and Tai had been through and our collective joy at being able to live freely in Toronto.