Gender Bending Holiday Comes to Vancouver

Chief organizer Tien Wee will help launch Vancouver's first ever Tranny Day.Tien Wee used the Self-Expression and Leadership program in Vancouver to create the first every holiday of its kind: Happy Tranny Day, a celebration of gender diversity and the transgender community taking place on April 13th. The Vancouver Courier interviewed Wee and wrote a feature story about the holiday.

Fledgling Holiday a Tribute to Gender Bending   

By Sandra Thomas 

Friday, March 28, 2008

With Easter arriving unseasonably early this year, it’s nice to know there’s a new holiday to look forward to in April.

April 13th marks the first-ever Happy Tranny Day in Vancouver, a celebration of gender diversity brought to you by the Trans Alliance Society and Vancity.

Organizer Tien Wee was inspired to create the celebration as part of a self-expression leadership course he’s taking through Landmark Education, a U.S.-based training and development company with a focus on enlightenment and empowerment.

“I was asked to create a community project and I thought why not create one for my own community,” said Wee, who’s been a member of the trans community for the past six years. “In the past couple of years I had made a conscious choice not to participate in the trans community.”

Wee wanted to make it up to the community and is lead organizer of the event, which starts with a Fun Fair at the Heritage Hall on Main Street, offering information, sessions with a massage or wellness practitioner, a visit with a psychic and workshops specific to the trans lifestyle, such as how to use art as expression and learning skills relating to gender presentation.

“The workshop is about how you handle creating anatomy you don’t have,” said Wee,  “and will give tips on how to pass.”

Passing is the term used in the trans community for living as a gender not your own. According to the Trans Alliance Society the term “trans” refers to anyone who has a medical or psychological gender identity different than their birth sex, and/or who expresses their gender in ways that contravene societal expectations for men and women. The term also describes people who self-identify in a number of ways, including transgendered, as intersex, Two Spirit (aboriginal trans), cross-dressers, transsexuals, bi-gendered, pan-gendered, androgynous and female and male impersonators.

Trans can also describe people whose perceived gender or anatomic sex may conflict with their gender expression–such as masculine appearing women and feminine appearing men. Wee explains the term gender queer is used to describe someone who expresses his or her gender through creativity.

“They could be anything,” he said. “They might live as a boy one day and then as a girl one day. They’re very fluid.”

Wee said because of the diversity of the community, it’s not necessarily a close-knit group. That’s due to a number of reasons, he adds, including a split according to gender, political views and location. He notes some trans people want to live their lives without getting involved with other members of the community. The Fun Fair is designed to bring members of the community together.

“It’s a chance to get to know each other,” he said.

Wee said it was important to make the event informative, but also fun, because so many trans people face discrimination in their daily lives.

The evening after the Fun Fair, the party starts with a drag show featuring local performers Amanda Luv and Busta Cherry and hosted by Mz. Adrien. A DJ will provide dancing music.

“The point of the whole thing is to celebrate,” said Wee. “We are a bunch of courageous people, really resilient and creative, and so much of what we know is not really fun. This event is going to be fun and so empowering.”

Happy Tranny Day takes place April 13th at the Heritage Hall, 3102 Main St., from 3 to 11 p.m. Admission is by donation.

To see the original story, go to the Vancouver Courier website.

About the author

Julia Taylor

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