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Aiming for the Sky

December 28, 2019

Sofia knew that she identified as a girl from a very young age. But it took many years for her to come out as a trans woman. It was three years ago, in search of support and community, she joined the Trans Youth Mentorship Program (TYMP) at The 519.

A musician and a professional DJ, Sofia’s love for music goes a long way back. From writing poetry to playing the piano, she invested a lot of time and effort to nurture her skills over the years. She was performing under a different name before coming out but found herself struggling to continue her music career as a trans woman. Her first break as Sofia Fly came through TYMP, at a community event at The 519. Today she is thriving as an artist and performs regularly at various public and private events.

Prior to joining TYMP, Sofia was working for a company where she did not feel safe coming out and being her authentic self at work. She quit her job, moved from Brampton to the Village, and joined TYMP. She remembers being nervous at her first session. Three years later, she can look back and see how far she has come.

“TYMP was the beginning for me as a trans woman. The first place where people used my correct pronouns and name. I felt seen.”

Sofia feels that her participation in TYMP was instrumental in supporting her through the early time in her transition. At the time, she did not know any other trans women and strongly felt the need to be in a room with other trans people – to share with and to learn from.

“When you are trans youth who has just come out, you have to learn how to live your life as a trans person. Something people in your life may not be able to teach you. How do you apply for a job? Which name to use? So much stuff to know to be able to navigate your identity in social and professional spaces. Programs like TYMP can really help people do that.”

Being with other trans people and learning about the communities’ history also helped her address her own feelings about coming out.

“It was life-changing to learn about LGBTQ2S history and 2-spirit identities. It really put things in perspective for me and helped me overcome my own internalized transphobia.”

Sofia was able to connect with an LGBTQ youth counsellor and learn more about the job application process. She got a part-time job and continued focussing on her career as a DJ. She also showcased her journey at The 519’s Trans Film Festival in 2018. Now she comes back to The 519 to perform at various community events including the Trans Day of Remembrance event, and also regularly performs at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre as their resident DJ.

Sofia believes in herself. She also believes in her community and the support it deserves. She is already planning to come back to TYMP – this time as a mentor for other trans youth.