Trans women take the stage for sound-based performances

Six artists perform at the Khyber Centre prior to Transgender Day of Remembrance

3 min read
Five women sitting in a semi circle with scripts in their hands, reading
caption From left to right, Bronwyn McGuinness, Calendula Sack, Chris Cochrane, Excel Garay and Brody Weaver, performed a spoken-word piece.
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The Khyber Centre for the Arts opened its doors Sunday for a sound bath and a spoken-word-piece by trans women, inviting the audience into the performers’ personal worlds.

Six women took the stage with two sound-based performances, which people could attend either online or in person, as part of the Khyber’s Let It Out series.

“It was about using the space, less as a gallery … (and more about) fun and sound and performance,” said Saba Blyden-Taylor, one of the program coordinators.

Sunday’s programming, attended in-person by around 25 people, was opened by Katie Wayne, a local sound artist, who created a sound bath for the audience. In her 45-minute performance, Wayne used synthesizers and natural sounds such as crashing waves to create an environment of internal reflection.

Woman wearing a beanie performing with three synthesizers under pink light
caption Local musician Katie Wayne created a sound bath using synthesizers as part of the Khyber’s Let It Out series.
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Wayne said there are few safe spaces in the city where trans people are “able to speak and say what we want to say without judgment or fear of harassment.”

“It’s important for us to be able to express ourselves freely without fear,” she said.

The second performance, titled We Come With Many Stories, was a collaborative spoken-word set by five performers.

Program coordinator Jean Serutoke said, the performers are “the first group we’ve had of this size,” in the Let It Out series.

The organizers speculated this may have been the first all-trans women show in Halifax.

“It’s (definitely) the first one in a long time,” said Blyden-Taylor.

Brody Weaver, an organizer and performer, described the set as “a collaborative performance spoken-word piece.” She also said the Let It Out series highlighted “less of physical art, but more social performative art.” Having the show the day before the Trans Day of Remembrance felt significant to the performance, she added.

Performer Chris Cochrane said it was important to bring trans fem voices together as they “are usually the ones that are silenced.”

“If you are a little trans child out there, know that there’s an adult version of you, that is just waiting to see how happy you’re going to be in your future, unapologetic self,” she said.

The performances aimed to break down barriers of understanding to minimize biases.

“I hope people walk away with love in their hearts, and acceptance and less fear towards who we are as people. And I’m speaking directly about being a trans woman,” said Wayne.

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