“I have always lived on the edge of two different worlds.”
Identifying as Two-Spirit, with a mother of Ojibwe heritage and a father of English heritage, Trevor is a quiet, shy individual – with a very public role in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.
“I was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and had to embark on a very personal, and very emotional, journey of coping with the news. Through re-connecting with my Indigenous community of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, I was able to find the inner-strength required to rise above feelings of isolation and stigmatization. Establishing a new connection with my Indigenous roots was a spiritual experience for me and resulted in the use of both Western, and Natural Medicines in my healing process. I was very fortunate to have the support of my family and community when I first came out with my HIV-positive status – a luxury that not everyone is afforded.”
“What you don't know, can kill you.”
An Elder on my reserve once told me that they believed I would go on to take up a public position and share my story on the global stage in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I wasn’t sure if I was the right person for the job. Having expressed my anxieties around this with my Elder, the response I received back was, “Who else can do it better than you?” And then said, “If you can’t think of anybody, then you’re the one that’s supposed to be doing it.”
My Elder’s words have stayed with me ever since that day.
“The power to help make a difference in the world resides within each one of us.”
The unfortunate truth is that many of the people being disproportionately affected by HIV are those who live within First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in Canada.
“I want you to know that our Indigenous communities are resilient and strong. We have youth and traditional people at the forefront of HIV prevention, on and off reserve.”
Today, Trevor is an activist, volunteer, and consultant on the global stage in the fight to end HIV and AIDS. He is the Coordinator for the International Indigenous Working Group on HIV & AIDS (IIWGHA) for the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN), a Board Member of the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+), the President of the board of 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations in Toronto. He had the distinguished honour of being only one of two North American delegates in the NGO Delegation on the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) of UNAIDS.