Talking Queerness, Community, Music, and Ally-ship with T. Thomason


Homegrown musician returns to Antigonish for his latest show

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting local musician T. Thomason who played at the Golden X Inn as a part of X’s Pride month celebration. T, and his band played on Friday January 23rd alongside other Nova Scotian band 'Alexander and the Great Ones,' which includes StFX alumni Katrine Chiasson. Musician Sadie Goering, a current StFX student, played solo and opened the evening. The show was fantastic, with high energy and stellar quality, the musicians fostered a very positive atmosphere. There was a great turn out with many of StFX’s queer community in attendance; many of whom could not help but dance the night away. 

 T, who is now based primarily in Halifax, but is back and forth to Toronto, grew up in Antigonish. I caught up with him over the phone earlier this week where T reflected on his time growing up in Antigonish and what being queer looked like then. He said that he, for a while was unaware of queer spaces in town until his time at the Regional High School where he helped to create the school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance. T, who was the first president of the club, remembers the process of incorporating the program to be difficult and controversial as the school’s principal at the time was highly against having a club that promoted what he called a “deviant lifestyle”, as stated to The Casket that year. Luckily the school soon got a new principle who was extremely supportive of the idea and worked alongside T and Jen Laudadio who spearheaded the project, to bring it to fruition. T says responses to queerness at the high school seem to be more positive today and feels like “there is now more opportunity in Antigonish for queer people to feel nurtured and to flourish in a stronger way.”

T began to play music between the ages of 12 and 13 and put out his first record at 14. T, currently has three records under his previous name, an EP under T. Thomason and is currently working on a new record. He recalls learning to play guitar when he first moved to Antigonish and was new to Pomquet Acadian School. He remembers hanging out in the music room with a friend in 6th grade and wanting to learn Iris by the Goo Goo dolls. T highlighted that both his parents work in the arts and were very supportive of his drive to pursue music further. “My first album was well-received and really fun-I didn’t think about it too much-then you suddenly realize this is your job now.”

T tells me there is a great music scene in Halifax that, thanks to the work of Music Nova Scotia, is becoming more nationally and internationally recognized. T and his band are playing their next show at Gus’s Pub in Halifax on February 24 alongside Alexander and the Great Ones.

To wrap up my interview with T, I asked him: what does pride mean to you? This is what he told me, “As I have gotten older I have learned so much more about the history of Pride. I think it is really easy to think of Pride as just a party and an amazing time when queerness is centered and you can just be who you want… but I think Pride has become more and more political to me recently. It is a fun and amazing time but it is also a time to be really conscious of who are centering and the voices that are coming to the forefront and be aware of the intersections within our queer community. Whose voices are getting prioritized and whose are getting forgotten and the systems in place that allow us to forget or suppress certain queer voices. So pride to me more and more means solidarity with queer people of colour, and trans people who are queer, particularly trans women. I think it should always be the priority in queer communities to be supporting voices that are marginalized even within the context of being queer. I think because of some of the amazing things that have happened, like the Toronto Pride march being stopped by Black Lives Matter; and the unfortunate tension around Halifax Pride over the last few years and the unfairness of a few communities being pushed out of the celebration, particularly queer Arabs of Halifax, I think it has become a really important time to think about where pride started which was with trans women of colour and to do everything that I can to be an ally to trans women of colour and queers of colour and center their voice as much as possible in the pride celebrations”.