Reflecting on Chosen Family on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Chosen Family by Margot Durling, digital installation on the NAC Kipnes Lantern © Greg MacKay
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Chosen Family by Margot Durling, digital installation on the NAC Kipnes Lantern © Greg MacKay

Featured for the first time on National Non-Binary People’s Day and during Ottawa’s Pride celebrations, Margot Durling’s Chosen Family lights up the Kipnes Lantern once again for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). TDoR is an annual observance on November 20 that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

“The impact that these types of art installations can have is profound. It can be life-changing.” 
Margot Durling

For non-binary, transgender, and queer artist Mr. Margot Durling, this day of remembrance is always mixed with hope and sadness. Many within queer communities are still excluded or rejected by their families of origin and transgender Canadians are also more likely to experience violence and inappropriate behaviours in public, online and at work than cisgender Canadians.

“With another record-breaking year of transphobic violence, I want more for us – to feel safe in our bodies”, said Durling.

Positive representations can play an important role in creating an environment of acceptance, inclusion and belonging—especially for those who have historically been excluded, marginalized, or misrepresented. 

Chosen Family is a permanent installation in Halifax/Kjipuktuk adapted to illuminate the Kipnes Lantern. The vibrant work is a colourful celebration of gender identities, sexualities, and relationships.

“Many people in our community use this term [Chosen Family], to describe the unique queer kinships with people who not only accept you fully, but honour and celebrate that,” said Durling.

“Being accepted and loved unconditionally is a human need and something we can all relate to. That’s what Chosen Family is really about.”
Margot Durling

Margot Durling is a visual artist and Creative Director at Fathom Studio in Dartmouth.

Read the original story published about Chosen Family in June 2021

Learn more about trans peer support: Trans Lifeline

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