Mental illness still dominates most conversations about transgender Canadians. As Canada Research Chair in Transgender Creativity and Mental Health, Dr. Lucas Crawford is trying to determine why that is, how this mental health impasse came about, and who has benefitted most from various approaches to transgender mental health.
He and his research team are studying literature, art and theory in order to question the controversial role of mental illness in histories of transgender. They are drawing from at least six case studies of trans creativity: filmmaker and curator Chris E. Vargas, poet Kai Cheng Thom, performer Coral Short, hybrid-genre author Paul B. Preciado, performer Cassils, and poet Trish Salah. Crawford is also designing and offering free creative writing workshops to local LGBTQ and/or mentally ill people, and plans to offer these courses in psychiatric wards eventually.