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Annapolis Valley-born filmmaker shining light on transgender Canadians

Samson Learn, a filmmaker originally from an Annapolis County community between Bridgetown and Annapolis Royal, is in the midst of a cross-country journey that will be the focus of the developing Trans Canada Documentary.
Samson Learn, a filmmaker originally from an Annapolis County community between Bridgetown and Annapolis Royal, is in the midst of a cross-country journey that will be the focus of the developing Trans Canada Documentary.

ROUND HILL - A filmmaker from Annapolis County is in the midst of a cross-Canada journey fueled by a desire to tell the tales of transgender folks from coast to coast.

“A challenge that a lot of trans folks face, and this is a direct mirror of my story growing up, is a lack of resources, a lack of knowing that there are other people like you out there,” said Samson Learn, speaking with the Annapolis Valley Register during a pit stop in Toronto July 12.

Learn, a graduate of the Nova Scotia Community College’s film program, left his hometown of Round Hill following high school. In Halifax, he started to connect with members of the transgender community and learn about gender expression.

“I didn’t even really know what the T in LGBT stood for,” the 28-year-old said.

“I realized it in my early 20s through living in a more urban area and meeting transgender folks. I got to know that those things are possible, and that could be me. It opened a whole world of possibilities and happiness for me.”

Now Learn is hoping to spread the joy.

He hopped on a Honda Ruckus motorbike in Halifax June 20 and set out to cross the country at maximum speeds of 65 to 70 km/h, taking the time to document the stories of several members of the transgender communities en route to the final destination of Vancouver, B.C.

“So far we’ve done nearly 20 interviews and we’ve released two of our videos. They’re available on YouTube,” said Learn.

The final product will be dubbed Trans Canada Documentary. Learn’s former NSCC classmate, Jake Ivany, agreed to go along for the ride as the documentary’s producer, following the Ruckus along the country’s winding back roads.

The duo hopes the documentary will both educate and inspire as the interviewees talk about their lives, passions and professions.

“I’m hoping for the trans community to watch the videos and be proud of the their community, like how vastly diverse we are and how many skilled workers we have.

I’m also hoping for the cisgender community to watch these videos and see beyond a trans status,” said Learn, who noted that job security for transgender individuals is a national issue.

The documentary, meant to be a reminder of the importance of inclusion, education, empathy and diversity, is slated for release in 2017. In the meantime, a series of mini documentaries will be posted online via YouTube to serve as a resource for those interested in the project.

“There is strength in understanding and inclusion; our hope is to broaden the trans narrative in the eyes of the cis-world but to also strengthen the self-pride and community bonds that hold our trans communities all across Canada tightly together,” a prepared statement on a successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign website launched for the project reads.

Follow the Trans Canada Documentary Facebook and YouTube pages for updates as the journey continues.

“A challenge that a lot of trans folks face, and this is a direct mirror of my story growing up, is a lack of resources, a lack of knowing that there are other people like you out there,” said Samson Learn, speaking with the Annapolis Valley Register during a pit stop in Toronto July 12.

Learn, a graduate of the Nova Scotia Community College’s film program, left his hometown of Round Hill following high school. In Halifax, he started to connect with members of the transgender community and learn about gender expression.

“I didn’t even really know what the T in LGBT stood for,” the 28-year-old said.

“I realized it in my early 20s through living in a more urban area and meeting transgender folks. I got to know that those things are possible, and that could be me. It opened a whole world of possibilities and happiness for me.”

Now Learn is hoping to spread the joy.

He hopped on a Honda Ruckus motorbike in Halifax June 20 and set out to cross the country at maximum speeds of 65 to 70 km/h, taking the time to document the stories of several members of the transgender communities en route to the final destination of Vancouver, B.C.

“So far we’ve done nearly 20 interviews and we’ve released two of our videos. They’re available on YouTube,” said Learn.

The final product will be dubbed Trans Canada Documentary. Learn’s former NSCC classmate, Jake Ivany, agreed to go along for the ride as the documentary’s producer, following the Ruckus along the country’s winding back roads.

The duo hopes the documentary will both educate and inspire as the interviewees talk about their lives, passions and professions.

“I’m hoping for the trans community to watch the videos and be proud of the their community, like how vastly diverse we are and how many skilled workers we have.

I’m also hoping for the cisgender community to watch these videos and see beyond a trans status,” said Learn, who noted that job security for transgender individuals is a national issue.

The documentary, meant to be a reminder of the importance of inclusion, education, empathy and diversity, is slated for release in 2017. In the meantime, a series of mini documentaries will be posted online via YouTube to serve as a resource for those interested in the project.

“There is strength in understanding and inclusion; our hope is to broaden the trans narrative in the eyes of the cis-world but to also strengthen the self-pride and community bonds that hold our trans communities all across Canada tightly together,” a prepared statement on a successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign website launched for the project reads.

Follow the Trans Canada Documentary Facebook and YouTube pages for updates as the journey continues.

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