Iman Kassam - Ten Oaks Project

Iman Kassam

ImanIman was one of the first volunteers with the Ten Oaks Project, both as a facilitator with the Rainbow Families program and as a Camp Counsellor at Camp Ten Oaks, where she stayed with us for our first four years.

Iman eventually moved on from the Ten Oaks Project when she had the opportunity of a lifetime to make music professionally and tour with a band as a professional drummer.  Over the years, she continued working with some really inspiring organizations: Jer’s Vision, Egale Canada, YMCA, and a group she co-founded called, Agitate: A Queer Women of Colour Collective.  She later went back to school for Radio Broadcasting.

She moved to Yellowknife in 2011 to work in journalism, and instantly noticed the lack of queer gatherings in the city.  So, together with the amazing local organizations and activists that were already working within the queer community, she got to work.

By August 2012, they had created their first three day pride festival called “Be Shameless,” with workshops on aboriginal queer identity, two spirit people, transgender identities and history, and queer sexual expression. She is now the Director and Arts Coordinator for NWT Pride, the only festival celebrating the 2SLGBTQ+ community of the Northwest Territories.

“The campers and staff taught me to deconstruct my own politics, disassemble my assumptions about people and the world, and to approach life with love, patience, and understanding.   It took me many years to come to terms with my gender, racial, and sexual identities, but working with Camp Ten Oaks helped me navigate through those times with empathy and hope. I have carried all of these experiences and skills with me over the past decade, and they are very much a part of my work and my community involvement in the north today.”