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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

Queer, Black And Making Canada Proud

They’re queer, they’re black and they’re putting Canada on the map…

As we near the end of Black History Month, a month where we celebrate and honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present, we had to shine a spotlight on our queer, black brothers and sisters who are blazing a trail and making us all proud. Here are three rising stars to watch in 2018. They’re making big moves and people are sitting up and taking notice.

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman is talented and oh-so-easy on the eyes. The 33-year old actor/model was born in Edmonton, Alberta, started his modelling career at the age of 16 and has appeared in international campaigns for Levi’s and American Apparel. He currently stars as scheming producer Jay in the hit Lifetime series UnREAL, a show that chronicles the cutthroat, behind-the-scenes drama of a fictional reality TV dating competition. Season three of UnREAL premieres February 26. Bowyer-Chapman has also appeared as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars. He’s out and proud and was named one of “Five Of The Best” in Out magazine’s 2007 feature article, “Canada’s Coolest”.

Michèle Pearson Clarke
Michèle Pearson Clarke is a Trinidad-born/Toronto-based artist who works in photography, filmmaking and video installation art. Her work, which focuses on longing and loss primarily as black and black LGBTQ2 people experience it, has been exhibited and screened across Canada, the United States, and Europe, including Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto), Studio XX (Montreal), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa), Ann Arbor Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning (London, UK), International Film Festival Rotterdam and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Pearson Clarke was recently named U of T Scarborough’s new artist-in-residence and her three-channel video installation, Suck Teeth Compositions (After Rashaad Newsome) is on display as part of the Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art exhibit at the ROM until April 22.

Biko Beauttah
Biko Beauttah is a human rights activist and a transgender Kenyan refugee who now calls Canada home. She was born in Mombasa and fled to Canada in 2006 with just $200 in her pocket because it was not safe to live as a trans person in Kenya. She spent her first six months in Canada at a refugee shelter in Toronto. Inspired by her own struggle to find meaningful work, Beauttah founded Trans Workforce, an organization whose mission is to accelerate upward mobility of those who are trans or gender non-conforming. This past November, Trans Workforce hosted Canada’s first transgender job fair in Toronto. Over 19 companies and 300 people attended with the event attracting locals and job seekers from as far away as California. The next job fair is scheduled to take place this spring.

To all those queer, black Canadians out there making a difference: We salute you.

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