Talking Transformation
An interview with Noé Charron - theHumm June 2020

Talking Transformation
An interview with Noé Charron - theHumm June 2020

Noé Charron is a 22-year-old non-binary trans woman (who uses both she/her and they/them pronouns) who started her transition while growing up in Almonte and working at Baker Bob’s. We contacted her to find out how her transitioning was perceived and received by the community, and what advice she has for people who want to try and foster a more welcoming and compassionate atmosphere.

theHumm: As an employee at Baker Bob’s, you were one of my only examples of someone who was transitioning in the community. I always felt that you provided great friendly service, and I always went away thinking that you were one of the bravest people I encountered. Does it annoy you when people assume you are brave? Or assume things about you in general?

Noé Charron : Haha, it’s actually a bit of a joke among the queer community! A bit of a tragic one, because we’re all told we’re brave for coming out, but for most of us, not coming out isn’t really an option that we have. For myself, I waited half a year before coming out to my family and only came out ’cause I reached the point where gender dysphoria had gotten so bad that each month I worried I wouldn’t make it to the next. That said, here I am, strong as ever! So maybe more resilient than brave? It’d be a great to reach a point where trans people didn’t need to be so resilient in order to survive being and becoming themselves.

As for people assuming things about me in general, it can be really frustrating! Everyone’s different, so obviously making quick assumptions about people seems silly, but it’s something we all do instinctively. It’s something big that I feel people should really try to catch themselves making assumptions, take a step back, and ask themselves where those assumptions come from and if they really want them to inform how they see any given person. I’m a 22-year-old polyamorous transgender punk, university drop-out, professional game developer and Twitch streamer, all things that are *loaded* with assumptions and stereotypes. Some of them are accurate to some degree, others couldn’t be further from the truth.

You only recently moved out of your hometown so this may be difficult for you to answer, but do you feel that there were factors that made transitioning in a small town easier than it would have been in a larger centre? More difficult?

It really depends! If I was in high school, I feel it would absolutely be easier in the city. As far as I’ve heard, there aren’t many resources for trans people in city schools, but definitely more than what was available for me in Almonte. My queer friends were harassed and bullied constantly in school, whereas my friends in larger centres were having a great time being visible and out. That said, being early in my transition in university, I’d still occasionally have random students call me slurs as I walked past them on campus, and people would often stare. When I moved back to Almonte and went back to work at Baker Bob’s, everyone was *extremely* sweet and respectful! I can’t say I’m sure if I would have had a similar experience had I been working at some place like Timmies instead. So it really depends on a lot of things, like how well cis people feel you pass as your gender, if you’re part of other marginalized groups, and the kind of people you’re interacting with!

Did you have strong allies while you were in Almonte? If so, can you speak to the importance of these people in your life?

I did!! While I was in school, Barb Lotan and later Ms. Packham, who both ran the school GSA [Gay-Straight Alliance] were wonderful and supportive, and even though I wasn’t out to them, they gave me space and resources that absolutely helped me feel more secure in coming to terms with being trans. After dropping out of university and coming back to Almonte to work at Baker Bob’s, both Bob himself and my coworker Nicola were especially great! They were always supportive, respectful, and considerate! I can’t even begin to describe how safe that made me feel amidst the anxiety of being very out and visible early in my transition. They were so good about getting my name and pronouns right, and would often fill in customers who were confused about my gender presentation, haha.

Do you feel that it is important for a community to have visible signs of inclusivity, such as rainbow flags on local businesses and events like PRIDE in Mississippi Mills? What other things could a small community do to be more welcoming?

Yes, it’s absolutely important! I know especially for queer youth, high school is an extra nightmarish experience, where hostility is expected and safety comes in the form of a handful of close-knit friends, so seeing support amongst the community at large is wonderful! I think some resources that would be great are better LGBTQ+ education in schools, pushing for doctors to be trained with trans healthcare (massively lacking in both small and large communities), and hosting queer public speakers, and boosting the voices of trans people!

These times of social isolation are hard on everyone, but perhaps particularly so for marginalized groups. Can you suggest some specific ways that people can be more sensitive to and respectful of you and other trans people in their day-to-day interactions?

Sure thing! Some quick things I know people are sometimes unsure of: If you’re referring to a trans person from before they came out, still use their current name and pronouns. Trans men are men, and trans women are women. If someone comes out to you as a man, then you’d refer to him as a trans man. Trans and transgender are adjectives, like tall, smart, and kind. If you’re unsure of a trans person’s pronouns, just ask! Really, it’s ok. A casual “Hey, what’re your pronouns?” is perfect and respectful. If you can’t ask, default to they/them pronouns. They/them pronouns have been used to refer to people of unspecified gender for literally hundreds of years, it’s nothing new! Trying your best not to assume people’s gender is also a good idea. As someone who knows many trans people, I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible to tell if someone is trans or not, and easiest to just think of people as genderless until they tell you otherwise. Not something I think comes easy to most cisgender people, but something absolutely doable with practice!

What are you personally most concerned about during this pandemic?

Honestly, a lot! I’m worried about the safety of people near and dear to me, I’m worried people will stop taking it seriously before it’s safe to, I’m worried about governments using the pandemic as a distraction to pass harmful bills, and worried for the mental and physical health of everyone when we come out of quarantine. It’s a scary time, and we’re going to be seeing the effects of it for a long time to come.

What are you optimistic about in terms of what happens during and after the pandemic?

The pandemic has highlighted a lot of systemic injustices that many marginalized people face daily, so my hope is that pushes for change can maybe resonate with people who found themselves previously not caring or being able to empathize. I would *love* to see people emerge from this with a stronger drive to make positive social change and political reform!


Where to Find the June Humm - theHumm June 2020

We’re heading out to deliver the June issue of theHumm! Because things have changed a wee bit since the last time we did our distribution, here’s a list of the places we will be trying to deliver to. Hours and more information can be found at the links. Happy Humm hunting!


Dandelion Foods

Don’s Meat Market donsmeatmarke......


Jeff Wallace — Wallflower Turned Art Auctioneer! - theHumm June 2020

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

A new artist is blossoming in our midst. Rising to the COVID-19 challenge, Burnstown artist and businessman Jeff Wallace is discarding his anonymity and charging into the fray, determined to make a positive contribution. But first, introducing:

Jeff Wallace — Artist

Wallace has only recently arrived in a place in his life where his first love, art, is able to play a bigger role. As Forrest Gump’s mama always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You......


COVID, Kids, & All the Feelings - theHumm June 2020

By Nicki Gallo

There’s this exercise that I like do when I work with kids. It helps us to explore how our feelings are something that we experience in our bodies as well as our minds. First, I give the child a piece of paper with the outline of a person. I ask them to colour the location on the body where they feel certain emotions and match it with a colour. For example, they may feel red/anger in their hands: “I’m so mad I could punch someone!” Or feel yellow/nervousness in their bellies: “I have b......


Supporting Local Artists: In Person and Online! - theHumm June 2020

By Miss Cellaneous

The good news for area art lovers is that many local galleries have been able to re-open — most with reduced hours and all with extra safety precautions in place. We highly recommend a visit to Almonte’s General Fine Craft and Sivarulrasa Gallery , Riverguild Fine Crafts in Perth ...more

PRIDE of Place
An interview with Michael Rikley-Lancaster
- theHumm June 2020

Michael Rikley-Lancaster is the Curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and a member of the group that was planning to launch the first-ever Mississippi Mills PRIDE Week this June. We contacted him to find out how both the Museum and MM Pride are faring.

theHumm: Since becoming Curator, you (with the assistance of your staff, board and numerous volunteers) have made many improvements to the Museum and have hosted incredible exhibitions by artists from......


Talking Transformation
An interview with Noé Charron
- theHumm June 2020

Noé Charron is a 22-year-old non-binary trans woman (who uses both she/her and they/them pronouns) who started her transition while growing up in Almonte and working at Baker Bob’s. We contacted her to find out how her transitioning was perceived and received by the community, and what advice she has for people who want to try and foster a more welcoming and compassionate atmosphere.

theHumm: As an employee at Baker Bob’s, you were one of my only examples of someone who......


Embers of Hope
Embracing Life in an Age of Ecological Destruction and Climate Chaos
- theHumm June 2020

By Kris Riendeau

Bonita Ford is a co-founder of Permaculture Eastern Ontario and author of the new book Embers of Hope: Embracing Life in an Age of Ecological Destruction and Climate Chaos. We contacted her to find out how this book came to be, and how she hopes it can help us all to “nurture the small forces that may radically transform our world”.

theHumm: You had me from the title, because hope seems to be one of the most precious “commodities” — albeit one that isn’t for sale ......


Ice Cream Contest!Play “Passport to Brain Freeze” - theHumm June 2020

By Sarah Kerr

Hello again friends! I hope you and your littles are ready for a 3-month summer “vacation”. But one from the ’50s without camps, daycares or programmed sports… and for many, juggling working from home. Sounds idyllic, right? Okay, this doesn’t exactly sound like vacation, but if there’s any advice that I can offer it’s that the summer of quarantine begins now!

Yes, you may be wondering if I’m the minister of education to declare something like that, and to be clear… no I am not. But as the d......


Almonte, Spirit of Place
A New Book from Photographer John McQuarrie
- theHumm June 2020

John McQuarrie is a photographer and publisher of the recently released book Almonte, Spirit of Place. We contacted him to find out how his most recent book came to be, and how the current lockdown is affecting its reception in the community.

theHumm: Your photos are stunning — can you tell us a bit about your training and background?

John McQuarrie: Like many working photographers, I simply consumed print and online tutorials along with each advance in imaging......


A Time of Transformation - theHumm June 2020

By Kris & Rob Riendeau

Welcome back to the print version of theHumm! We are thrilled to return to this format, and we sincerely hope that this issue finds you well. As you might imagine, it is a bit different from our ......


Faces & Fabric
of a small town during pandemic
- theHumm June 2020

As the community grapples with a pandemic that is radically reshaping every aspect of public and private life, we are striving to capture the historic shift through the eyes of everyday people in M......


Lots of Time to Plant! - theHumm June 2020

By David Hinks

Missed planting the vegetable garden on the May 2-4 weekend (well it was a bit early this year)? Do not despair if you haven’t planted your entire vegetable garden yet. It is not at all too ......


KITCHEN at Sivarulrasa Gallery
An Exhibition in Partnership with the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum
- theHumm June 2020

Until July 10, Almonte’s Sivarulrasa Gallery is pleased to partner with the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum to present KITCHEN, an exhibition that elegantly combines wo......


Rural Root Zooms into Spring with Couples - theHumm June 2020

At its best, community theatre brings together people from all walks of life to share ideas and create friendships. This has been Rural Root Theatre’s strength since 2005, and they have no intent......


Poplar - theHumm June 2020

By Susie Osler

A Poplar round supports my weight. Its dying body lies here, sprawling in pieces around me. Rings of honey-coloured carbon circle in around dark, decaying heartwood that Woodpeckers have already ......


PRIDE in the Valley! - theHumm June 2020

Here’s an overview of PRIDE plans (as of press time) across the Ottawa Valley. We recommend following these groups on Facebook, because things may change and activities may be added as it becomes......


Role Models for Rough Times
James Naismith and John McLendon
- theHumm June 2020

Just as we were going to print, stories about the death of George Floyd started hitting the news and social media. theHumm doesn’t report on breaking news, but we thought this information about a......


Bike Boom
The Resurgence of Cycling in Uncertain Times
- theHumm June 2020

By John Pigeau

Following a national trend, business at local bike shops is booming. 

“A hundred percent, absolutely,” says Pete Wood, owner of Heritage Bikes in Perth. “A lot of people are finding that......


“Trishaw” Crowdfunding Campaign Launched - theHumm June 2020

With support from Lanark County Council and several local businesses, Cycling Without Age Lanark County (CWALC) has taken the next step by launching a $7,000 crowdfunding campaign with the goal o......


Back to the Books! - theHumm June 2020

By Karen DeLuca, Librarian

The past few months has certainly been posing a challenge to readers everywhere.

For some it has meant exploring those long-forgotten books neatly displayed on bookcases at home. For others ......


Enough’s Enough! - theHumm June 2020

By Glenda Jones

We’ve been behaving ourselves and “staying the blazes home” for the past twenty-eleven weeks. It’s been fine up to this morning, when I scared myself half to death looking in a mirror. Who kidnap......


We are All in this Together - theHumm June 2020

By Wanda MacDonald

In small communities like ours, you just need to ask for help and people step up. And everyone is definitely doing just that!

Mississippi Mills Together — or MMTogether for short — is one wa......


The Power of Tech Shabbats
- theHumm June 2020

By — Kris Riendeau

Back when COVID-19 was just a gleam on the social media horizon, Rob and I listened to an intriguing podcast while delivering the February issue of theHumm. Presented by The Long Now Foundation, ......


Food Truck Evolution - theHumm June 2020

By Sebastian Weetabix

Months ago Weetabix asked his loyal readers “what starts with ‘F’ and ends with ‘uck’?”, and the correct answer had no apparent connection to the spread of a virus or a fundamental change in the ......


Cinema Therapy, Books and Guided Meditations
Finding Some Peace in a Pandemic
- theHumm June 2020

By John Pigeau

In the midst of this dreadful pandemic, people are having to cope with all manner of new challenges. We’re a resilient bunch though, and so far many of us have improvised rather well. Meeting up ......


Business-to-Business Support
A Full-Circle, Feel-Good Story
- theHumm June 2020

By the Fulton’s team

When Shirley Fulton-Deugo, owner of Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugar Bush, got together with the team from Almonte’s Dairy Distillery, little did she know great things were in the makin......



theHumm in print June 2020 (pdf)

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