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A tribute to Kyle Scanlon

Toronto mourns the loss of trans activist and community leader

by TransPulse (repost)

A tribute to Kyle Scanlon

Originally posted on

It is with tremendous sadness that we learned of the death of Kyle Scanlon, our dear friend and one of our treasured Trans PULSE team members.

Kyle was a trans activist, researcher, front-line community worker and leader who worked tirelessly and selflessly for social justice.  As one of the founding members of Trans PULSE, Kyle gave of himself for years to the project, always present at meetings, making significant contributions, and helping us to keep our feet on the ground.  The wisdom from his life experiences helped to shape the Trans PULSE project from the very beginning.  Kyle was on many occasions, our voice of reason; when things got difficult, he was always there to remind us why we were collectively there.  Kyle was a champion of community-based research and held great hopes for its ability to help to mobilize change in trans communities.  At the 2012 Rainbow Health Ontario Conference in Ottawa, Kyle outlined the community-driven nature of Trans PULSE.  With tremendous pride, he showed those present that research could indeed be done in an empowering way without trans people giving up control.  Besides his engagement with Trans PULSE, Kyle was a member of the AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Gay/Bi/Queer/Trans Men’s Working Group, and was a Co-Investigator on their new study focussed on the sexual health needs of trans men who have sex with men.  His earlier research contributions included the FTM Safer Shelter Project and the Youth Migration Project.

For the past 10 years, Kyle worked at The 519 Church Street Community Centre, first as the Trans Programs Coordinator and then as the Education, Training and Research Coordinator. In these roles, Kyle trained thousands of service providers around the province to make their services accessible to trans people.  He recently completed a policy manual to aid organizations in including and serving trans people well.  He served on countless boards and committees, and despite his many responsibilities, he responded with an open heart to the needs of members of the trans community on a daily basis.  Kyle made life more liveable for trans people in so many ways and it was through his important work that Trans PULSE was originally formed in collaboration with Sherbourne Health Centre.

Kyle was also an animal lover who travelled extensively to explore life and the world.  He loved and cherished the gentle nature of animals, the way they loved unconditionally.  His cats provided Kyle with joy and happiness, and his love of them helped to keep him balanced in his activism work.  

More than anything, Kyle was our close friend, whom we loved very dearly.  He was always so generous with people.  He paid attention to process and was always, in the way he spoke to people, kind, gentle and loving, assuring people that their input was important and valued…indeed a great and valued teacher. We hope he knew how important he was.

Kyle was a leader and friend to so many of us – we will honour your memory dear friend by continuing to ensure that your ideas and wisdom shape the future of Trans PULSE.  We will miss you terribly…

We want to say that depression, hopelessness and suicide are very real issues for trans people and Kyle’s death has and will continue to hit the community very hard; take care of yourself and each other at this time and if you are feeling distraught please call a friend, go to your emergency department, or call a distress line. You may get a busy signal at first but there is someone there to help. If needed, we have provided Ontario Distress Centre phone numbers at

A community memorial will be held Thursday, July 19th at 7PM in Cawthra Square Park.

This memorial will feature speeches, video, performances and opportunities to share in celebrating and remembering Kyle.

This event is being coordinated by Kyle's friends and colleagues with the support of The 519.

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Topics: Gender
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