On August 2, 2015, Gemma Hickey, a prominent social activist, completed a 938-kilometer walk across the island of Newfoundland—a journey undertaken to raise funds and awareness for survivors of religious institutional abuse. Along the way, Hickey heard firsthand accounts of abuse, courage, and recovery that forced Hickey’s own trauma to resurface. At other times, alone and staring down the grand expanse of the TransCanada Highway stretching over the horizon, Hickey was left with little more than the physical realities of the landscape and the sense of one's own body. By the end of this arduous passage, Hickey realized they were transgender and reached the courageous decision to pursue hormone therapy. Through complex feelings of empathy and solitude, suffering, recovery, and celebration, Gemma Hickey’s Almost Feral chronicles a journey from one side of an island to the other side of personal identity—charting an unknown territory where one's body becomes the map that leads to home.About the Author: Gemma Hickey is a passionate humanist whose activism has changed the legal landscape of Canada, expanding rights, equality and dignity for the LGBTQ2+ community and raising awareness for survivors of clergy abuse. Since 2010, they have been Executive Director of For the Love of Learning, a non-profit that works to forge new paths for at-risk youth by advancing their literacy and creative skills. In 2013, Gemma created the Pathways Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports survivors of clergy abuse. To promote awareness and raise funds for the cause, they walked 938 kilometres across Newfoundland in July 2015. Gemma’s physical and personal journey through gender transformation is the subject of Just Be Gemma, a documentary produced by Nine Island Communications. As a well-known force for change, Gemma co-led the movement that legalized same-sex marriage in Canada in 2005. In 2017, their request for a gender-neutral birth certificate spurred Newfoundland and Labrador to change its law, and Gemma became the first person in Canada to receive a non-binary birth certificate. A strong believer in ongoing learning and individual growth, Gemma lives in St. John’s, where they are currently working on a Master’s degree in Gender Studies at Memorial University.
Publication Date: 20191031