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Ever since Shoshana Pellman was young, she had always fought for equality and equity no matter how small or big the situation was. She is especially passionate on topics regarding the intersectionality of 2SLGBTQI+ community and older adults.

“I like to say that I started advocating when I started taking hormones in 2005,” says Shoshana. “By 2006 everything about me changed. The way I talked, walked, and presented myself was different. And as soon as that transition happened, that’s when I started non-verbally advocating for the right to feel good as your true self.”

Shoshana had her personal story published on Xtra magazine and The Globe and Mail, was interviewed by various radio channels such as: the Closet, The Current, and Sirius Radio. She works closely with North York Toronto Health Partners and Unity Health to help develop and input various strategies to support older adults and the 2SLGBTQI+ community. Shoshana was also involved in revitalizing the 2SLGBTQI+ Tool Kit for Seniors published by the City of Toronto.

“Some people don’t come out, especially older adults. But, I know that we’re here. And if it makes the experience of at least one person’s life better, then it’s worth me advocating,” says Shoshana.

As a transgender individual in their 70’s, Shoshana faces challenges and discrimination from older adults and even members from the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

“People my age has an old type of thinking, and cis-gendered individuals sometimes assume the worst in transgender people,” she says. “There’s too much transphobia, including the gay and lesbian community. The respect is needed from all peoples to everyone.”

Shoshana joined Circle of Care’s Bereavement Support group in 2018 after her mother’s passing and was met with a safe and respectful environment.

“I didn’t notice any discrimination or gaps in care during my time in that program,” says Shoshana. “They made sure it was safe physically but also emotionally. And for me, the word safe also means to be respected, and that’s what I felt when I attended the Bereavement program.”

In early 2022, Shoshana was welcomed to join Circle of Care’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee. Her valuable insight as a former client who is also a part of the 2SLGBTQI+ community helps us identify gaps and opportunities for us to advance our care and create a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere for all clients.