BWS 08.07.15: Syrus Marcus Ware

WareSyrus Marcus Ware is a visual artist, activist, and educator, as well as a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, and the author of chapters in Who’s Your Daddy?: And Other Writings on Queer Parenting (Sumach Press), Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (Oxford) and Disability Incarcerated (Palgrave MacMillan). He is also the Program Coordinator of Youth Programs, Art Gallery of Ontario, and for the past 15 years, has hosted the weekly art and activism segment, “Resistance on the Sound Dial”, on CIUT 89.5FM. In 2005, Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine, and in 2012, he was awarded the Steinert & Ferreiro Award.

In May, Syrus published Love is in the Hair, a children’s book from Flamingo Rampant, a micropress with a mission to publish feminist, racially diverse, LGBTQ-positive children’s books. Ahead of his appearance at BWS on July 8, he gave us a peek inside!

Carter 1

[Uncle Marcus (pictured):] “Carter! Awake again! Remember little one, we need to get lots of sleep tonight so that we are rested for the big day tomorrow! Your new sibling will be here soon, and we want to be awake to meet her!”

[Carter:] “I can’t sleep. I’m too excited! Could you tell me a story?”

Uncle Marcus settled onto the edge of the bed, carefully moving his hair out from under him as he sat down. Carter looked are her uncle’s hair carefully. It was full of memories and stories and magic.


“What is this bead from?” Carter smiled. She knew this story and liked it best of all.

[Uncle Marcus:] “This bead is from a very special day, four years ago when you were born!”

[cont’d:] “While we were waiting for you to be born, we went for a walk in Union Square and we found this beautiful artist’s booth selling tiny handmade beads. This one is full of all the colours of the rainbow, and it made us think of you, and all the hope of your new journey.”

Hair 4 copy

[Carter:] “What about this one?”

[Uncle Marcus:] “This piece of metal was from a music festival that I went to in 1996. I met Uncle Jeff at that festival, when I stopped to buy this metal bead. He was selling metal bracelets and we started talking. Ive worn it in my hair ever since.”

[Uncle Jeff:] “I remember that! […] But I wasn’t selling metal jewellery, I was making woven bracelets to give away!”

Uncle Jeff laughed. They always remembered parts of the story differently.

Carter, excited, points to pink thread in one dreadlock.

[Carter:] “Yes! And that’s why you have this story in your hair! This pink is from the bracelet, right Uncle Jeff?!”

[Uncle Jeff:] “That thread is from the day we decided to be each others family! We wove some of the threads from my bracelet into uncle Marcus’ hair.”

carter and mum on dresser

carter and baby

Syrus Marcus Ware visits the Brockton Writers Series on our annual Queer Night, Wednesday, July 8, 2015—full of beans Coffee House & Roastery, 1348 Dundas St. W., Toronto (6:30pm, PWYC)—along with Amber Dawn, Trish Salah, Vivek Shraya, and special guest speaker Michael Erickson of Glad Day Bookshop.

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