Lockdowns and learning my Identity

About - An exploration of how the pandemic led to a time of self-reflection and acceptance towards Maisyn’s identity.

COVID-19 Mental Health Digital Hub


This resource was made possible through the financial support of the Canadian Red Cross and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

An illustration of a masculine person standing in front of a mirror facing the reflection of a feminine person in a dress.

As a first-year university student in 2019; living in a bigger city than my hometown, I found myself exploring and expressing myself differently. I came from a predominantly white and conversative community – a small town in Rothesay, New Brunswick. As someone who identified as trans-masculine, I had no room to explore the fluidity of my gender, let alone the background of my culture. I was already under scrutiny as a person of colour who was not cis. I felt trapped and restricted in how I could identify and felt as though I would only be accepted so long as I was one “valid” gender or another. 

While I always enjoyed presenting masculine,  there was a temptation to expand my identity and test boundaries that many cis, straight people don’t understand. As an Inuk, it seemed impossible to find myself in a space where my spirit was fully accepted. Most people in Rothesay didn’t understand identities that were beyond being trans-masculine or trans-feminine, let alone diverse cultures, so being myself was hard, especially in such a small community.

I knew that leaving my hometown would be therapeutic and just what I needed.

My counsellor had told me that St. Thomas University would be a wonderful place for me and that the atmosphere was better since there were more people like me who were queer and more people who shared the same interests as me. I had an opportunity to reinvent myself the way that I wanted to be perceived, although I only started to express myself in the comfort of my room. I still inhabited an ignorance of fluidity; I feared ruining a certain image of myself and having my peers confirm their predispositions that may not have even existed. For the sanity of myself, and the idea of acceptance, I believed too, that the spectrum was only binary. 

When the initial lockdowns happened, I spent more and more time by myself – this meant I was able to try different clothing styles opposed to my usual hoodie and baggy jean combo. I remember in high school I secretly used to try my sister’s clothes on, and something about being masculine but wearing feminine clothing made me feel more like myself. I tried that out once more during the pandemic and ordered a bunch of different clothes that I thought I would like – skirts, crop tops and tank tops, even bras. It was a sense of euphoria that I had not felt before. I was euphoric that I was masculine, but in a way, I wasn’t euphoric about my feminine side. It was a concept I wasn’t familiar with yet, but I was excited to explore.

An illustration of hands holding a phone with a heart on the screen.

I felt so excited that I started to post on TikTok. At this point, I didn’t have many followers, but a few people found me through the for you page and started rooting for me and my journey. I didn’t identify as two-spirit yet, though a couple people in my life had already suggested that I was two-spirit. I didn’t understand it when I first heard about it, and when I was exploring different ways of expressing myself, I did research. When I stumbled across Coyote Park, or @nativeboytoy, I was instantly inspired. I found him on TikTok originally, I watched videos of them dressing masculine and feminine and other times being androgynous. They are very open and expressive with their identity, and I didn’t realize I was able to expand my gender identity to lengths like they do. I knew I had to explore my culture along with my gender identity, and my first step was to stop being afraid, to stop holding myself back from what others might think of me. I knew that once I wasn’t scared, I was going to be powerful, comfortable, and happy. 

Once I started publicly identifying as two-spirit, I started posting videos surrounding being two-spirit. I started to build my platform on my culture and my identity, where I found people who support me and were also inspired by me. I began to educate and inform people and make really important connections with people who I look up to. All of these experiences made me feel fulfilled. In an earlier TikTok, I explained it as a puzzle piece that was missing in my life. Eventually, after having a consistent foundation on TikTok, I was reached out to by It Gets Better Canada(IGBC). They gave me an opportunity to share my voice to the queer community and expand it to a diverse audience. It Gets Better Canada gave me a new platform with the different collaborations we worked on. I think my main aim was to educate people who didn’t understand identities like mine, and just show others that authentically being yourself is more important than others being judgmental and IGBC let me voice that, even if I didn’t have to say those exact words. 

After three years, in a way I’m thankful for the pandemic. I used to say that the pandemic saved me and my identity, I was able to wind up the confidence to be by myself and finally showing everyone around me who I truly am.

About Author


Hello! My name is Maisyn Semigak (they/them), born in New Brunswick, Canada and roots from Labrador; I am Inuk and Two-Spirit. Since 2020, I became a small Indigenous and Queer activist through TikTok spreading awareness and knowledge of Indigenous advocacy and history, exploring my identity along the way. I built my platform slowly, and soon after, collaborated with It Gets Better Canada to further expand mine and IGBC’s audience to provide our different platforms with educational and resourceful content.

It Gets Better Canada is an official member of the It Gets Better International Affiliate Network.

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This website was made possible with the support from It Gets Better Project, a non-profit organization working to uplift, empower, and connect 2SLGBTQ+ youth around the globe.