In The Name of Naming

Welcome to the CCGSD

As Jer’s Vision begins the process of transforming into the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), I can’t help but think of my own naming process. For many people, the term “name change” is used often, and certainly, it does make sense to apply that label here. The forms I had to fill out, as well as our Board of Directors, were called name change forms. But for me, it wasn’t a change so much as it was a process of invitation.

I’ve had many names in my lifetime, and will probably continue to accrue many more, ranging from the silly (“Catty”) to the hilariously necessary (“Captain” — it came about as a way to get my bank to stop called me gendered titles). I’ve also had a ton of painful names shouted, screamed, snickered, and sneered at me through the years, names I try to erase from my memory but that still linger inside my ears like tiny scars. I’m a big researcher in names, too, their meanings, and their significance. Names are cool. Names have power. Names can hurt and they can heal.

My name, Lukayo, is a healing name. It is a name that I opened up to consultation, but ultimately was chosen because it reverberated with my core self, and thus was the best way to invite people to know me. That’s why I chose it– I wasn’t changing my name and I’m not changing who I am. I’ve always been Lukayo, and I want to invite people to get to know me as Lukayo, and not who they thought I was.

Similarly, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is not just a name, but a dream that we’re inviting you to take part in. For years our team realized that what we were known as was not exactly what we stood for. We were growing into our core values and concepts– an anti-oppression framework, a community-oriented approach, and a wider scope on what we mean by “education”. We’re still the same organization devoted to the empowerment of gender diverse and sexually diverse peoples, but we’re also inviting people to look deeper into what we are, into all that we do, and into what we promise we’re heading towards.

CCGSD is here to support you in your myriad and amazing endeavours. We invite you to get to know us, because we’re not only just here for you, we’re also here to build a relationship of support, empowerment, and collective impact with you.

Lukayo Estrella
CCGSD Team Leader