Eliot K. Waddingham is the Team Education Coordinator for the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Eliot was born in Kingston, Ontario but thinks all the best parts of their personality were cultivated during their summers in the East Coast, especially Moncton, NB and on Grand Manan Island. They like to think of themselves as a “Half-timer” (as opposed to the classic ‘Maritimer’).
Eliot holds an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts with a Specialization in History from the University of Ottawa. They graduated magna cum laude and was briefly a poster child for the Arts faculty because of their participation in the University of Ottawa’s French Immersion and Co-operative Education Programs. Throughout their university career, Eliot was privileged to experience work terms with the Government of Canada and an extremely memorable four months internship at the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, France. They also worked as an undergraduate research assistant, and the head of research for an “edu-tainment” company called Bold and Mighty. Despite their age and, at the time, unfinished academic studies, they were published in the academic journal Clio with an article on the role of religious organizations in the breakdown of the Red River settlements. They managed all of these experiences while taking care of a particularly robust combination of depression and anxiety, which Eliot now accepts (somewhat begrudgingly) as a permanent partner in their human experience.
Eliot stumbled rather suddenly into the LGBTQ2SIA+ community at the age of 20. Raised in a conservative Christian home, the realization that Eliot was a non-binary transgender person with a rather fluid sexuality was a shock to everyone (including themselves). Having always been passionate about issues of justice, Eliot dove headfirst into advocacy for the very people that they would have protested against in high school. They have worked for four years as a consultant to religious organizations seeking a new path of affirmation and inclusion for queer and trans congregants, and were intimately involved in the fight for same-sex unions in the Anglican Church of Canada (which was passed, by less than a percentage point, in the summer of 2016). They are also a minor Anglican celebrity, having been the first person in the Anglican Church of Canada to have a Blessing on the occasion of changing their legal name.
In their advocacy work, Eliot has been interviewed on Radio Canada and by a whole host of Ottawa-local radio stations. They’ve done workshops in churches and public schools as far west as Victoria, BC and as far east as Ottawa, ON. (They hope to someday to do at least one educational event in every province and territory of Canada!) Eliot has also worked as a juice barista, postal clerk, fibre arts specialist at a hole-in-the-wall yarn shop, and a Bridgehead coffee master—and they think that all of this service industry jobs are just as valuable experiences as their academic pursuits.
When not being a professional queer person, Eliot can most often be found trapped under their two sleeping cats at home, or wrapped up in a cardigan at a local coffee shop with a hefty paperback. They enjoy knitting, cross stitch, and video games, although they aren’t very good at the latter. They love true crime podcasts, science fiction novels, and 80s pop culture. They have research interests in the areas of trans history in Canada, the role of religion in the development of secular societies, and the grammatical superiority of singular they. Eliot lives with their partner, Michael, and two cats, Bobby and Zelda. They are happy to call Ottawa their home.