By Mary Giles

Kaeden Seburn

Kaeden Seburn

Kaeden Seburn is a recipient of a 2021 Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement and was on the FPA Dean’s Honours List 2019-2020.

In high school, Kaeden Seburn was involved in advocacy for trans and gender diverse students in their school and in the community. Through their involvement in community organization, they met a number of people who had great jobs and who often had degrees in social work.

After completing the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, Seburn is now working part-time for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) as the first Trans and Gender Diverse Student Support Coordinator. They also work part-time for the Ten Oaks Project, running groups for parents and caregivers of trans and gender diverse children and youth.

In their first year at Carleton, Seburn helped found Support and Education For Trans Youth (SAEFTY), a youth group in Ottawa run by and for trans and gender diverse youth. Seburn is currently a facilitator for the program.

“There are other institutionally run 2SLGBTQ+ youth groups, including a few specific to trans and gender diverse youth,” says Seburn. “SAEFTY is a space led by youth to meet and hang out with friends, go to the park or take part in events. It’s not a support group. It’s a more casual space where talking about gender is not necessarily the focus.”

SAEFTY is a space for trans kids, youth and their families, but also for young adults. Youth can find friends their own age, but also meet older mentors who have had similar experiences. “We really try to make it a space where people can connect across different age groups within the community,” says Seburn.

Seburn completed both of their practicums for the BSW program with the OCDSB. While the school board has an equity and diversity program that does work related to gender identity and expression, Seburn created the first dedicated position of Trans and Gender Diverse Student Support Coordinator through their first practicum. After their practicum, they were hired to continue in the role on contract. Starting in September, it will be a new full-time permanent position, while Kaeden will be moving on to complete their Master of Social Work at York University in Toronto.

Kaeden Seburn by the river

“In this position, I provide workshops and consultations about gender identity and expression and work towards making schools and classes safer and more inclusive for trans students,” says Seburn. “During the pandemic, I’m providing online training for staff and running drop-in groups for students over Google Meet. Trans and gender diverse students from across the school board are able to connect with other students once a week. It’s a chance to connect, hang out and access resources.”

“I came out as trans when I was in high school and did a lot of advocacy work in my own school. In general, there was a fair amount of support, but there was no position like this at that time. It’s cool to be able to work in the school board and connect with students who might be in a similar situation as I was in elementary or high school.”

“It’s great to be able to connect with those students, find out what is happening in their schools, what they need to make it feel safer and what I can do to help make that happen.”

Friday, June 18, 2021 in , , , ,
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