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Disaporic Expressions: Queer Inclusion and Expression
September 25, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Queer Inclusion and Expression 

When: Saturday, September 25th, 2021 from 2 pm-3:30 pm

Panel description: What resources are there in the community for LGBTQA2+ newcomer artists? What personal community groups are available to queer newcomers? What professional and artistic organizations are available to them? Invite organizers from LGBTQA2+ groups as well as established queer artists from the area to discuss resources available to them and the queer artistic community in our area. This panel will discuss the relationship between queerness as a personal and artistic identity as newcomers in a community.


Yara El Safi: Yara El Safi is a Queer, Lebanese, Muslim, visual artist and Performer. Raised in Tripoli, Lebanon, El Safi immigrated with her family to Windsor, Ontario in 2002 in search of better education and economic standing. El Safi completed her BFA Honours Specialization in Studio Art and minor in Women’s Studies at Western University in 2016. Currently based in Toronto, Ontario, her BFA aided with the establishment of her artistic discipline in formal studio practice, while her background in Women’s Studies informed her foundation to understand herself within a Canadian context and the intersections of identity in her ongoing practice.

Onar Usar: Onar Usar is a proud queer disabled immigrant, and a parent of a spirited toddler. She arrived in Canada from Turkey as an international student more than two decades ago. She has considerable experience in working with and supporting LGBTQIA+ individuals with intersecting identities through information and resource sharing, education, advocacy, and community building activities. She holds a Masters Degree in Gender Studies and currently works as the coordinator of Positive Spaces Initiative at OCASI-Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.

Nona Abdallah: Nona Abdallah is an Arab, Muslim, transgender woman, and a Queer and Trans rights activist. She was born in Canada after her parents arrived in the 1990s as refugees escaping the Lebanese Civil War. She studied Mathematics at the University of Windsor, and is currently studying Child and Youth Care at St. Clair College in Windsor. After a long struggle facing the backlash of publicly coming out, her focus as an activist and organizer is on others facing the same problems of balancing queer and racialized identities, and the material struggles they face in poverty, public housing, and abusive situations. She volunteers supporting refugees and immigrants and founded a peer support group in Windsor called ‘NAFS.’ This group is intended for people who are from the Arab, Middle Eastern, North African, and Muslim communities in Windsor who also identify as queer and trans. In the past, she has given presentations on the struggles with faith and sexuality, and about the intersectionality of being an Arab who identifies as transgender. She also has been an activist for many years supporting Palestinian human rights, and is currently involved in urban and community farming.

Sizwe Inkingi: Sizwe is a graduate of the School of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University. Sizwe’s work primarily focuses on supporting the creation of national LGBTQIA+ guidelines that offer operational skills, tools, and resources to ensure that gender and sexually diverse immigrants, refugees and newcomers are accessing barrier-free settlement services. She is a part of numerous advocacy initiatives that work to strengthen the network of LGBTQIA+ newcomer communities to Canada.

The panel will be moderated by Samantha Badaoa.

Samantha Badaoa is a graduate of the University of Windsor with an Honours English Language and Literature degree. Samantha is a recognized spoken word artist with an established body of work, she has been part of the Windsor Poetry Slam since 2015, touring and competing as a representative of Windsor in multiple national poetry competitions. She has been the director of the Windsor Poetry Slam for a number of years and has just completed her term as the City of Windsor’s first ever Youth Poet Laureate. Her first full length collection of poetry, “So am I” was published in 2020 with Black Moss Press. In 2020 she received a Windsor Endowment for the Arts Emerging Artist grant to create her second collection of poetry which will focus on the agricultural industry in Windsor-Essex County. Her poetry centers around lyrical storytelling and the connection between the divine and the mundane. Samantha is enthusiastic about sharing an experience with people through poetry and spoken word, and hopes to create spaces for people to experiment with expression.


September 25, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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