Sze-Yang Ade-Lam

Dancer - Community Organizer - Activist

QueerEvents.ca - notable indviduals - Sze-Yang Ade-Lam

Bio

Sze-Yang Ade-Lam is a queer asian non-binary storyteller & community developer via dance, kung fu, words, drawings, film, and photo. They are a co-founder of Bricks and Glitter, a grassroots, community arts festival and one of the co-founders of the ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company, a queer positive multiracial dance company that embraces difference as strength. Since 2011 Sze-Yang has created more accessible affirming dance education and performance opportunities for QTBIPOC’s and their adjacent communities, as well as advocated for change in the arts.

There is an illusion of safety when people think of Canada in regards to LGBQT rights. But it is not safe up here, especially for trans, nonbinary, nonconforming, B,I, POC youth/people and even queer men of colour – they face disproportionate amounts of violence. - Sze-Yang Ade-Lam (interview for Where Love Is Illegal)

They are the driving force behind the shift in the Dora Awards towards gender neutral awards (The Dora Moavor Moore Aware is presented annually by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts which honours theatre, dance and opera productions in Toronto). In 2016, they registered for both the male & female category of dance performance for the Dora Awards, because there was no check box for nonbinary people. They were told that they had to choose only one category or they would be disqualified from registration – or they could pull the registration. They refused to comply and promised to fight back if they were disqualified. Sze-Yang Ade-Lam was granted a one time exception to register in both categories and continued to work with the Dora team to advocate for change so that trans & nonbinary artists could register. In 2019 the awards became gender neutral and the organizing team committed to provide anti-bias training to the volunteer jurors.

I thought of all the trans & nonbinary artists past and present that could not register. In 2019 the awards became gender neutral. I was not properly credited for my work in this shift & again had to fight to be recognized for my work/labour in these shifts as well as the many Q,T, B, I,POC folks involved. - Sze-Yang Ade-Lam

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