In a nation that still has a long way to go to become the kind of country where transgender people are accepted and safe, a transgender man who was born male but identified as female said he was happy in Canada and “loved Canada” until he came out as transgender.
“Canada was kind of like a ‘you’re welcome’ Canada,” said Michael Dabney, 29, who moved to the United States in 2010 to pursue a career as a software developer and worked for companies including Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter before transitioning in 2016.
Dabney said he thought he would be able to move back to Canada, but in 2016, he was told he could not because he was a woman.
Dabbney’s story was featured in the 2016 documentary Trans America: America After Trump, which was released in October.
He said he had been using the name Michael Dabbney since he was 6 years old and was bullied at school because of it.
“It was a lot of times, if you’re transgender, you’re in trouble with the teachers, you were in trouble in school.
You’re not allowed to use the boys’ restroom, and you’re not supposed to use men’s bathrooms,” Dabbry said.”
I thought, ‘Well, maybe this is a little different.'”
Dabneys experience was not unusual in Canada, said Trevor Chadwick, the executive director of the Toronto Transgender Alliance.
“I’ve been in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other places.
Canada has always been the most accepting and welcoming country to trans people,” Chadwick said.
The documentary TransAmerica: America after Trump found support from trans activists, including a transgender activist who said the movie was a “call to action” to get more people to come out.
“The transgender movement has been able to mobilize a lot more people in support of trans rights than the trans movement has,” Chadhardt said.
Daboney said that his story resonated with him as he grew older.
“It was the beginning of me realizing I had been really struggling with gender dysphoria and gender expression,” Dabneys said.
He had come out to his parents when he was 14 and to his teachers and the school board when he went to high school.
Dabaney said Canada also helped him become more confident in himself and his identity.
“We’re a pretty progressive country, but it was like, ‘You know what?
We’re not going to be the world anymore,'” Dabrey said.
He said he and other transgender people he knows now have made the move to Canada because they feel more comfortable.
“People are really accepting.
I feel like I can be myself,” Daboney added.
Dabeeney’s journey started when he attended a summer camp in Ontario that had a “transgender” program.
He says he had trouble adjusting to school because he felt uncomfortable in school, but he was helped by an older friend who helped him get through his transition.
“The other thing that helped me, was that my friend helped me get to know myself, my family, and my family was the first group that I could see myself in.
That was really amazing to me,” Dabeeney said.
As Dabbys story unfolded in the U.S., he met and began dating a transgender woman who he later married.
In 2018, he became the first transgender man in North America to be named Canada’s best-looking man.
“This is a very rare thing, and I’m really happy,” he said.
“This is what I want to be, and it’s what I’m trying to achieve.”
TransCanada, the company that runs the Toronto Trans Alliance, said it welcomes any individual or group to apply for an official designation as a trans person in Canada.
“If someone wants to apply, we encourage them to come in, but we also encourage them not to come here unless absolutely necessary, said company spokesman Mark Dolan.
TransCanada says it will make its own assessment of the person’s medical history and other factors before making a decision.
But Dabry said he is excited about Canada’s new recognition.”
They’re a place that’s a little bit different than most places in the world.
They have very strong laws and very strong protections,” he added.