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Superheroes and Supervillains Support The 519

December 2019

Is it possible for a fictional super-villain organization to make a difference to society in real life? It totally is.

Meet Karen, a trans woman, writer, and artist in the furry community. She moved to Toronto in 2014 when she got a job here with a financial institution. She came out as a trans woman in 2016. Through this journey, her connection with art flourished.

“Most of what I’ve worked on has focused on superheroes and super-villians. Particularly the latter.”

The different pieces of exploring one’s gender identity in a safe space, and the use of art for exploration and self-actualization came together for Karen. That eventually gave rise to the ‘Korps’.

This is a virtual supervillain team bent on taking over the world, says Karen.

“They do this to dismantle fascist autocracies and oppressive corporation, and halt global warming, but also in the hope of providing extensive medical and transition care to their agents,” she explains. The group has since been considered a refuge for many trans-identified folks, not just from Canada, but the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, and other countries.

A couple of months ago, one of Karen’s colleagues DistressedEgg, a comics artist from the west coast, proposed an online Korps convention. They called it “KorpsCon 2k19”. Little did Karen and Egg know that this plan would lead to something larger.

“Our plan was to do a weekend of streamed content, focusing on live art as well as other media like games streams from folks in the community. While our plan was to take on commissioned sketches for most of the weekend, we decided to open the event with an art stream to do sketches of people’s identified Korp characters for charity.” They decided to do it in support of The 519. It was Karen who suggested the cause.

“The 519 helped develop policies for LGBTQ2S inclusion at my workplace. We also picked The 519 because it isn’t a single-focus charity. It does a variety of things for our communities.”

KorpsCon weekend finally came, and Karen and her team thought they would raise a few 100 dollars. They did not expect to raise over $2,300 in the first evening. This encouraged them to abandon their plans to do commission work and rebroadcast their initiative on social media inviting support. They ended up raising close to $5,400. Karen alone created close to 20 artworks in exchange for donations.

Here is one of the many sketches made ahead of the fundraiser (sketch by Hope, a member).

What surprised Karen the most was how her community of folks from different countries showed their support to raise funds for The 519. And this is exactly what she has to tell other donors:

“People WANT to make a difference wherever they might be. If you can get them involved and interested in your cause, they will help you. So, don’t stop.”

Karen feels encouraged to make KorpsCon a bigger event next year.

“If we can generate so much in a single weekend on our first try, then we ‘supervillians’ may just have the power to help change the world for the better in the years to come!”

The need for services for older LGBTQ2S communities is increasing, and funding for such programs is decreasing.

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