Walker, Rachel Loewen, Bergen, Jake, Fayant-Mcleod, Tiberius, Marshall, Kerry, "Choosing to Stay: Building a Future for Gender-Diverse People in Saskatchewan through Stories of Hope and Belonging," Gender & Society, Jun2024, Vol. 38 Issue 3, p351-378

This paper draws on the first comprehensive study of Two Spirit, trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming (2STNBGN) people in Saskatchewan. Despite challenges, including rising conservatism and targeted political attacks, we temper assumptions that trans and queer people want to leave Saskatchewan for other locations where the 2STNBGN community is assumed to be bigger. Many of our participants described choosing to stay in the province as an intentional way to build community, advocate for support, and cultivate belonging. We further explore a distinctly prairie politic that includes Two Spirit and Indigiqueer projects of belonging to land and community, cross-provincial trans community organizing, and a complicated geography that supersedes binaries between urban and rural. Our research tells us that gender-diverse people on the prairies are enacted through a “grounded relationality,” a context-dependent, binary-resistant expression through place, whether that place is land, city, country, or small-town paint store. Ultimately, our research shows that despite an increasingly chilly political climate toward 2STNBGN people, Saskatchewan still bears witness to trans joy, innovative activism, and an activated trans community that is invested in a future that they are a part of. Plain Language Summary: This research is unique in its discussion of Two Spirit, trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming (2STNBGN) people in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. We talk about the ways that people on the prairies, especially Two Spirit and Indigiqueer folks, feel connected to the land and their community and further that gender-diverse people express and understand themselves in ways that aren’t tied to strict divisions between urban and rural or gender and sexuality. Even though the political climate in Saskatchewan isn’t always welcoming to gender-diverse people, our research found that there’s still a lot of happiness and activism in the trans community here. They’re working toward a future where they feel included and valued. Many of the people we talked to actually choose to stay in Saskatchewan on purpose to build community and push for social change.