Why Ze’s Top 40: Ze actively advocates against hate crimes and helps others feel comfortable in their own skin
Just days after the annual Hate to Hope rally, Chevi Rabbit is already working on another project. Rabbit is developing a conference for Two-Spirited people, a First Nations concept for someone, like Rabbit, who identifies as both a man and a woman. Ze’s currently a board member of the Two-Spirit Circle of Edmonton Society and launched a similar group in the community of Maskwacis. After being assaulted in a parking lot in 2012, ze became a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community. Rabbit realized that being open – and empowering others to do the same – could be a revolutionary act.
Still, being yourself is complicated. The Rabbit family has deep roots in Maskwacis politics, but ze’s mother, who shunned politics to focus on her family, similarly encouraged Rabbit to follow ze’s own interests. “With my mom’s compassion, I was raised to see the good in people and not be selfish,” Rabbit says.
Rabbit went on to work with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the Edmonton Sexual Minorities Liaison Committee, and in 2014 received an award for hate-crime awareness from Alberta’s justice minister. Ze speaks at high schools, municipal conferences and colleges, and eschews partisanship. While tensions simmer worldwide between police and the LGBTQ community, ze devoted the 2016 Hate to Hope rally to Edmonton Police Service’s Constable Daniel Woodall, who was killed while serving an arrest warrant for a hate crime like the one that victimized Rabbit.
In college, Rabbit took night classes for makeup artistry. Today ze’s a senior makeup artist for Western Canada Fashion Week, has worked with stars like former Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull, and is working on a makeup line. Reveling in the juxtaposition – one part of ze’s life devoted to inner beauty, another to outer – Rabbit says, “I live a life of dualism. What’s wrong with a little blush?” Regardless, Rabbit is committed to making others feel accepted for who they are. “I’m committed to everything I do. I’m committed to my communities, I’ll continue working for them, and I’ll do it with heart.”