Celebrate Rupert!

Greetings People!

I’m inviting you to my 65th Birthday/Retirement Celebration hosted by The 519 Community Centre – specifically, Robyn Letson (Coordinator of Trauma-Informed Counselling Services) and Becky McFarlane (Director of Programs & Community Services).  

Date:                          Friday, February 3rd (6 pm)
Location:                   The 519 Community Centre 519 Church Street, Toronto The Ballroom (2nd floor) www.The519.org
Accessibility:            Mobility-accessible elevators & washrooms
Refreshments:         Hors d’oeuvres & Cash bar 

Please RSVP me asap if you can make it (and even if you can’t), and how many guests (up to 2) you’ll be bringing. (rupertrajtoronto@gmail.com)

Some background information (especially what’s been happening with me from May 2015 to now):

The 519 is honouring me and my twin milestone because of my long involvement with the centre since I first moved to Toronto in 1979.  Specifically, I’ve co-led three trans groups, co-presented multiple workshops and participated in various panels, focus groups, launches and community events at The 519 over the past 38 years – a “second home.”  (If you’d like to know more about my trans activist work at The 519, in Toronto, across Canada and the USA, please check me out on Wikipedia).  At the party, I might also brief you on the workshop series I put on at the centre in early 2014 for older trans guys (40+) and their loved ones and allies (my “swan song” before retiring), with promising discussions of a potential group for this “invisible” socially-isolated population at The 519.

I turn 65 on February 10, and will be flying to Lake Chapala, Mexico that day for a 2 ½ week reprieve from the Toronto winter! 

I’ve been on a Long-Term Disability Pension since May 2015 (for mental health issues – mostly due to chronic burnout and vicarious traumatization) and left Sherbourne Health Centre September 2015 (where I’d worked for 13 years as a psychotherapist on the LGBT Team).  My LTD expires Feb. 10, when I officially retire and begin collecting my Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and company benefits.  My healing process over the past 20+ months has been gradual but steady, facilitated by the support of my partner, sister, family doctor and GP psychotherapist, and implementation of effective healing strategies (mindfulness practice, walking, communing with Nature, reading, writing, listening to jazz & blues, watching British murder mysteries, historical fiction & sitcoms, Skyping with my partner in Australia [near Melbourne] and my sister in Victoria, limited socializing with friends). 

My partner (KJ) has been in Oz since November 2015 to care for an ill, elderly close friend, but she’ll be joining me in late Summer or early Fall in our new retirement destination in BC or possibly somewhere outside of Canada (e.g., Latin America or New Zealand).  Our plans are still unfolding as we negotiate the complex logistics of potentially migrating to other specific countries.

I’m inviting lots of people (former professional colleagues, friends, community members, fellow activists, health care and social service professionals, politicians, journalists) to my farewell party, as well as a number of you who’ve attended one of my trans workshops, conference presentations, training sessions, community events or peer-support groups since 1979, or my 2013 CLGA induction or 2015 CLGA launch of my archived collection, or my 2014 book launch (Trans Activism in Canada: A Reader, co-edited with Prof. Dan Irving, Canadian Scholars’ Press: www.cspi.org). 

I’m also inviting some of my “colleagues” from five outstanding organizations (in addition to the fabulous 519!) with whom I’ve been recently involved: the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives (CLGA) (based in Toronto – another one of my “second homes”), the Transgender Archives (TGA) (at the University of Victoria), the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) (based in Ottawa), Gender Creative Kids Canada (GCKC) (based in Montreal) and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) (based in Ottawa) as I’d like to promote them in case you’re not already aware of these valuable community and clinical resources.  (Their websites are listed further below in the section following my signature, so please scroll down for further information).

I hope many of you are able to come out and help me celebrate this twin-milestone (finally making it intact to 65 and being able to officially retire).  I’m sorry that it’s the “wintry-ist” month of the year (my parents should have had me in July!), but in spite of the cold outside, it will be heartwarming for me (and hopefully you too) to see both old and new faces (many meaningful connections over the years) as I wind up this significant chapter of my life before moving on to new horizons.

Love & Peace,  

Rupert