Apr 22, 2023
1:30-3PM EST

Describing Queer Identities: Exploratory Discussions About Ethics, Access and Language in Described Video Practice

This FREE event is co-presented with the Toronto Queer Film Festival (TQFF).

For registration/participation details, visit the TQFF website.

Described Video (DV) is the science and art of describing visual content, audibly, to people who are Blind, partially sighted, don’t/ can’t look at a screen, or otherwise find it useful. Our basic directives include “Say what you see” and attempt to offer as close as possible experience as those who are watching the event.

Jennifer Brethour and Kat Germain invite a mixed group of 2Spirit/Queer/Trans Description Users and Performers to a discussion on Ethics, Access and Language in Described Video Practices.

Generally in DV we only describe characteristics of physical identities when the information is perceived to be relevant to plot or character. Brethour and Germain ask: If we do describe visual characteristics of queer performers, how do we do it? If we don’t, aren’t we further silencing queer representation? It is our position that DV users should be offered the opportunity to understand who is represented and given access to the same visual information.

So how do we do this? What words do we use?

Describing Queer Identities is presented as part of two overlapping programs:

  1. Rhizomatic Pedagogies, a pilot project by InterAccess aiming to foreground the new media leadership and innovation of Black, Indigenous, and Disability Justice communities; and
  2. Queer Wonderlands, TQFF's 2023 Symposium.


Jennifer Brethour is a Toronto based audio describer who was trained by Kat Germain in early 2018. She is also a voice over actor, an artist who primarily works with leather and textiles, and a drag artist who recently produced and performed in her first show. After graduating from Humber College with a Funeral Services Education diploma in 2011 she has helped many bereaved families for over ten years. One of her main drives in life is to help create a better world for the generations that will follow her.

Kat Germain has over 12 years of experience as a Description Specialist, Consultant, Mentor and Researcher. Her work is grounded in Disability Justice, Anti-Oppression and Equity Intersectional frameworks. Work Includes: Huff (Neptune), Crypthand (Gale Force), Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls (Roseneath), Crippled (Theatre Passe Muraille; RCA), Blackout (Musical Stage Co.), The Negroes are Congregating (TPM), In the Fire (Rhubarb Festival), Friendly Fire (League of Extraordinary People on the Gender Spectrum), What’s Left of Us (Tangled), Unsettled and Indspire (APTN), Slo Pitch (OUTtv), Black Boys and Body Politic (Buddies In Bad Times), Toronto Queer Film Festival, Indigeneity & Disability Summit, Unsettling America


Emily Cook is an artist, arts educator, and cultural administrator. She studied at OCAD and Louisiana State University. She runs Paperhouse Studio – an experimental studio rooted in paper as the medium – with Flora Shum. As a low vision arts worker she is interested in disability arts and crip culture. She works on arts and cultural initiatives that create meaningful opportunities for underrepresented artists. She is the Digital Programs Manager at Creative users Projects. She lives in Toronto with a lovely roommate and lots of books.

Mii-Sum-In-Iskum (Long Time Buffalo Rock) is a founding member and former Artistic Director of the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society. His Government name is Justin Many Fingers, and he is a Queer, Indigenous, disabled, and MAD artist from the Kainai Blackfoot Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta. Justin is an international artist who studied in performing arts. He has worked with artists and companies from Australia, Thailand, Nunavut, Japan, Greenland, United States of America, and Mexico. Justin has recently completed his program of Arts and Culture Management at MacEwan University and is now entering the School of Creative and Performing Arts to begin his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Calgary. He is also a graduate of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, a three-year acting conservatory. He also studied at the Soulpepper Actors Academy and their 2012 season. Justin has studied in both western and indigenous performing art forms for the past ten years throughout Canada and around the world. The Elders he has learned from and worked with are Narcisse Blood, Alvine Mountainhorse, and Beverly Hungry Wolf.

Brennan Roy is a multiply disabled, queer and trans multidisciplinary artist, and community worker. They focus on the overlaps of dance, circus, disability consulting, and mobility technology. They are interested in how individuals in these fields construct bodyminds, what influences them, and how to dream beyond. They question who has access to the ability to build and/or resist, how technology is used and distributed to build bodyminds, particularly given the oppressive structures and systems of current society. Brennan has trained with companies including Full Radius Dance, Kaeja D’Dance and REAson D’Etre Dance Productions.

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