Ponoka’s Chevi Rabbit spoke at the Ponoka Jubilee Library recently on acceptance, diversity and why they advocate for those within the LGBTQ2 world. Rabbit spoke as part of the Life Stories sessions. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka’s Chevi Rabbit speaks on acceptance and diversity

Rabbit spoke at the Ponoka Jubilee Library during a Life Stories session

When it comes to understanding diversity and acceptance of others, Ponoka’s Chevi Rabbit has a way of explaining it that brings a feeling of acceptance.

Rabbit was at the Ponoka Jubilee Library recently during the Life Stories series. They spoke on not only being transgender but being a two-spirit First Nations person, who is also an activist.

There are quite a few other labels that have been attributed to Rabbit, but for them, quite simply: “I’m Chevi.” When it comes to pronouns Rabbit suggests the use of ‘ze’ or ‘they’.

Just being Chevi also happens to mean being on Edmonton’s Avenue Magazine Top 40 Under 40 list as well as being one of 25 most influential human rights advocates in Alberta. It all stemmed from an attack on Rabbit while studying at the University of Edmonton in 2012 that ended up changing their life forever.

They spoke briefly on that and how it changed their focus to advocacy. “Do I self destruct and have self pit or do I get angry and so something about it?”

“I was not going to take it lying down…and I benefitted from it because I learned about myself.”

That’s how Rabbit works; growth and doing more.

The attack did have a negative affect on Rabbit, however, and they had to work through PTSD. Sometimes walking down the street and seeing a group of men would trigger that fear. To combat the fear and to raise further awareness Rabbit created the Hate To Hope rallies, which have been going on for seven years now.

Rabbit told attendees that they left Ponoka a boy and returned as a two-spirit identity. They’re also in transition and hormone therapy.

Speaking on the two-spirit identity, Rabbit pointed out that this is not a new idea, and in the past a two-spirit person was highly respected. When settlers first arrived in North America, two-spirit individuals were the first to be eradicated, explained Rabbit, as they didn’t fit settler labels.

“Two-spirit culture has been fighting for their rightful place for quite some time,” said Rabbit.

“Now we’re in a cultural re-emergence of two-spirit identities.”

In Maskwacis, Rabbit, whose family is closely involved in Maskwacis and local politics, has been advocating for youths in the community. They want to give these youths a voice and an understanding of the two-spirit identity. The goal is to rewrite the two-spirit story.

This advocacy extends to individuals who are on the fringe of society, explained Rabbit. They want to ensure these people, who have not had a positive foundation, get past the negative narrative.

Rabbit feels these individuals have been robbed of a healthy, positive life where they can be accepted.

How does Rabbit deal with negativity? For Rabbit, it’s about mutual respect.

“It’s not my right to choose their belief systems, but it is my right to be treated with respect and dignity,” said Rabbit.

Within all this advocacy is a person who works in high fashion and make up artistry.

Rabbit is highly sought after and being able to make money following that passion is something they are proud of. “Fashion is my other life and that one is going to be fun.”

 

Ponoka’s Chevi Rabbit spoke at the Ponoka Jubilee Library recently on acceptance, diversity and why they advocate for those within the LGBTQ2 world. Rabbit spoke as part of the Life Stories sessions. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Just Posted

Ponoka teen pedestrian suffers injuries after pickup collision

A pickup struck a teen on residential streets in Ponoka

UPDATED: Calgary Police receive multiple bomb threats

Similar threats received across Canada and the United States

PHOTOS: Battle of Ponoka basketball action

The first ever senior high basketball league game for both Ponoka high schools was high energy

Guards injured, money stolen during overnight blast at Edmonton bank

Alberta Health Services said the injuries to the male guard were serious

Ponoka Elementary students team up to help KidSport

A special fundraiser has been organized by Ponoka Elementary Students to benefit KidSport

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘I practically begged’: B.C. woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

New home for Calgary Flames estimated to cost up to $600 million

The city and the Flames are not yet talking on who will pay how much for a building to replace the Saddledome

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Most Read