Chevi Rabbit continues to be a strong LGBTQ2S+ advocate in Edmonton

In the summer of 2012, Chevi Rabbitt was assaulted on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton, a popular street for businesses and bars.

Rabbit said three men in a car began shouting homophobic slurs. One jumped out, put her in a headlock and pushed her to the ground.

He stole her iPhone.

That night was traumatic for Rabbitt. She didn’t want others to go through the same ordeal, she created the Hate to Hope rally.

It offers an opportunity for people to tell their stories of racism or homophobia and to ask for love instead of hate.

For the past decade, the number of people attending is growing.

Rabbitt, a Cree Trans woman, has become an unexpected advocate.

“I never thought I’d have to use my voice to help others. Not only that, help entire communities.” Rabbitt told APTN. “It’s been an interesting journey. A journey. A healing process.”

As a voice for the LGBTQ2S+ community, Rabbitt has heard from many people who told her she has helped them through tough times.

“I would say a lot of men in the city, who are closeted because they are too scared to come out because it’s not yet safe for them,” she said. “I would say a lot of trans folks have come out and have advocated, I would say a lot of trans folks, despite whether they are Indigenous or not, need to have people speak on their behalf.”

And Rabbit does speak.

She always seems to have something on the go. She talks to local and provincial governments on ways to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ and Indigenous peoples and has the ear of the right people in government.

“To advocate for people who are marginalized with no voice, people who are struggling… the entire LGBTQ+ from an Indigenous lens is going through active trauma,” she says. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done so I think what I’m doing is really meaningful and impactful.”

So impactful that in 2017, Avenue Edmonton magazine named her as one of the Top 40 under 40 in the city.

Rabbitt also helped created the Walk a Mile in a Ribbonskirt event in 2020.

The walk helps bring attention to discrimination against Indigenous women and teaches the importance and history of the ribbon skirt.

Rabbit now has a bigger audience as a reporter for the Alberta Native News. It gives her an opportunity to tell stories in her own words.

She says it’s an honour to be an advocate, but it’s also challenging.

“I think it’s scary at times because you don’t want to let people down because you can see people who need help. You can see whole families that are learning inclusivity, they are learning pronouns. They are learning to give dignity and space to people who otherwise would be a pariah.”

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