Each week, What's Online will feature a curated selection of Koffler.Digital artist projects and publications, Koffler Gallery exhibitions and online gallery publications, features on recent community-engaged programs, as well as podcasts of past Books & Ideas events, talks and discussions.

In celebration of the final weekend of Pride month, this week we’re featuring a selection of LGBT2Q+ writers who have participated in our 2019-2020 Books & Ideas Series.


In February 2019, the Koffler presented Oji-Cree/nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer writer Joshua Whitehead – author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated Jonny Appleseed – in conversation with Cree, Two-Spirit, trans femme writer and educator, Arielle Twist. On writing “unabashedly queer” stories, Joshua said:

"The work I’m trying to do is trying to rectify the relationship we have as Indigenous peoples, and primarily as Cree peoples, between sex, sexuality and miyo-pimâtisiwin, or the good life, and wanting to bring them all back into this collective whole. Because without sex and sexuality, that circle is not complete. And without that we can’t have what we consider wâhkôhtowin, or all my relations within the Cree linguistic system. So we can’t fully heal until we kind of deal with that. And for me the best way I could do that was by stories that were unabashedly queer." – Joshua Whitehead

Listen to the conversation here:



The Koffler was thrilled to present the Toronto launch of Abby Stein’s Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman last fall. Abby was joined in conversation by Rev. Jeff Rock, Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ Church. On the power of story, Abby said:

“It’s very easy to hate an idea, it’s not so easy to hate a person. I don’t think it’s impossible – I know that it’s very possible. But it’s a lot harder. And I tell that to trans people a lot and I think LGBTQ people or anyone with a story - everyone has a story, really everyone does - by just being out there and telling your story, you are doing so much for yourself and for others like you.” – Abby Stein
Listen to the conversation here:



In light of having to postpone the Toronto launch of Shani Mootoo’s Polar Vortex and her conversation with author Catherine Bush in early April 2020, we asked Shani to record herself reading the opening pages of her new novel. Here's a line from the book, which author Joe Meno describes as "an intimate and starkly honest examination of the complexities of sexual identity, lust, shame, regret, and how we, no matter where we come from or how we identify, are at our most complicated when it comes to the whims and failings of the human heart.” 

“Alex has been testy ever since she learned of his visit. She knows nothing of my connection to Prakash, really, so why this fractiousness? Her discontent about his coming here has been less than playful. It amounts to insinuations, if not accusations, of a dalliance— past or present, who knows what’s in her mind?— and, whether or not she’s aware of it, casts aspersions on my sexuality.” – Shani Mootoo, Polar Vortex
Listen to the reading here: 
Koffler Centre of the Arts · Book Reading: Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo

All photos by Dahlia Katz Photography.
Koffler family FoundationCIBC Wood GundyOntario Arts Council | Conseil Des Arts De L'OntarioToronto Arts Council | Funded by the City of TorontoCanada Council