Close-up of Wash. They are sitting on a log in the middle of a forest.

Meet Washington Silk, Equal Are We Panelist

Washington P Silk holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Lethbridge and an MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University. They are a Registered Social Worker and work as a Therapeutic Counsellor with the OK2BME program. Wash is a gender queer person, and uses they/them pronouns, is open and interested in helping people meet their goals, enjoy life and increase self-knowledge. Outside of work, Wash’s main interests include their dog, family and science fiction. We are so looking forward to hearing from Wash on October 22! Read our interview with them below.

If you had to explain what you do to a five-year-old, what would you say? I talk to people and support them around all sorts of big feelings. I spend lots of time talking to different people about how to create spaces so everyone feels like they belong. I run events that help make everyone feel included, heard and where they can learn something new about themselves or an idea.

What’s your favourite Quote? “Let’s stop ‘tolerating’ or ‘accepting’ difference, as if we’re so much better for not being different in the first place. Instead, let’s celebrate difference, because in this world it takes a lot of guts to be different.” – Kate Bornstein

A picture of Wash sitting in a forest. Beside their picture is the following text: "A statistic they wish more people knew? At minimum in Ontario 0.5% or 1 in 200 people are transgender and '[t]he way that parents and caregivers respond to their child's gender variance is the most significant marker of long-term health and well-being.'"

Tell us about what/who inspired you to do the work you do.  After I finished my undergraduate degree in Alberta I found myself in Ottawa wondering what I should do with my life. I joined Project Acorn, an LGBTQ2+ Youth Leadership initiative where I met lots of cool adults who were really invested in social justice, youth-led initiatives that encourages me to think for myself and outside the box. They were a wonderful group of amazing supportive adults and young people that inspired me to do the work that I do.

This work can oftentimes be discouraging. How do you stay hopeful? I sometimes take a break when it’s overwhelming, rest and try again. I intentionally reach out to people who I trust and who get it, for support. I learn from my mistakes. I learn from others who maybe think about things differently than me. I remind myself of my motivations about why I am doing something.

Hear more from Wash about the work they do and the communities they work with. Join us October 22 for Equal Are We, a conference jointly hosted by YWCA Cambridge, the City of Cambridge and Conestoga College. More info here.

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