Partial Transcript: My name is Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, and I am interviewing…
Theodore Syrette, also known as Teddy. T-H-E-O-D-O-R-E, T-E-D-D-Y-, S-Y-R-E-T-T-E.
Segment Synopsis: Introduction of the interviewer, Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, and the interviewee Theo Syrette, at the Two-Spirit Gathering in Beausejour, Manitoba on August 4th, 2018. Consent to being interviewed and audio recorded is agreed.
Partial Transcript: Yeah, this is my first time attending the Two-Spirit international gatherings.
Segment Synopsis: Syrette revels this is their first time at a gathering. Syrette talks about their encounter with a professor who introduced the term “Two-Spirit” to them, as well how they found out about the international gatherings
Partial Transcript: I am originally from Rankin Reserve of Batchewana First Nation, the Anishinaabe people, right within the city limits of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario. But currently, I live and work in Takaronto [unknown] Toronto, Ontario
Segment Synopsis: Syrette explains where they are from, as well as how they identify theirselves. Syrette explains their coming out, as well as that they don’t feel the need to identify as they prefer gender fluidity.
Partial Transcript: Oh so, I think for my definition for community would definitely be a series of people or humans coming together and being one, and sharing space with each other, and culture, and music, and dance, and food. And taking care of one another.
Segment Synopsis: Syrette defines community as a group of people sharing spaces in harmony. However, Syrette has never experienced that in their own community. Syrette explains the struggles of living in Sault Ste. Marie. Syrette then talks about the problems in Toronto with homeless youth, and how it has affected them in their work with the community. Syrette then gets emotional about how beautiful and empowering it is to be part of the Two-Spirit community.
Partial Transcript: Well growing up, I didn’t really have a lot of spiritual influences in my life. I think, in Sault Ste. Marie where I’m from, there’s a large Italian population.
Segment Synopsis: Syrette recounts their childhood and their belief of being Italian, their discriminatory experiences in the indigenous community, and finally, finding comfort in theatre. Syrette explains that being part of an all indigenous cast brought them knowledge and teachings and they were able to learn about their indigeneity in a comfortable setting.
Partial Transcript: I was raised by both my parents. My parents would have been married for about thirty-three years. Would have been thirty-three years this November.
Segment Synopsis: Syrette describes their parents. Syrette goes on to say that their childhood lacked guidance. Syrette describes the relationship with their grandmother, and the relationship with their aunt, as being both positive.
Partial Transcript: In bed [laughs]. Lied up and napping, watching Netflix by myself, having McDonalds [laughs]. Sometimes is when I feel really safe, because sometimes if I’m presenting as more feminine, if I’m wearing skirts, and makeup, and jewelry, I don’t always feel that comfortable, even though I feel like that is my true self. I don’t like to shave.
Segment Synopsis: Syrette revels they feel safest in bed. Syrette also explains their internal conflict with presenting as more feminine. Syrette explains their struggles after their dad passed away. Syrette reflects that attending this gathering has been one of the safest spaces they have ever attended.
Partial Transcript: I just think there’s the one thing that I want to share, is one of the first teachings I got from an elder from Garden River; Willard Pine. He would do teachings, he would come into Ojibway class, and I would never listen to him [laughs].
Segment Synopsis: Syrette shares a teaching they received as a child from an elder. Then, Syrette, as an adult, was able to give the elder a teaching in return. Syrette explains that as helpers, they must teach themselves to help those in need
Partial Transcript: My pronouns are they/them, but I’m open to he/him, she/her as well. So I have a sister who calls me her sister, and I’m an auntie to her little one. And my other sister, I’m her brother, and I’m an uncle to her three boys. So it’s all good.
Segment Synopsis: Syrette discloses they prefer they/them pronouns, although he is referred to both male and female in his family.