Short Life Stories

//  11.13.23



As a committed ally, White Ribbon releases Short Life Stories addressing violence against the transgender communities

Over sixty per cent of Canadians fear for the lives of transgender people given the divisive, hateful climate

White Ribbon launches its newest campaign, Short Life Stories which follows the life of a transgender woman from her transition onward. This campaign delves into her journey as she embraces her authentic self, a path for some that is often tragically disrupted and cut short by transphobia and gender-based violence.

The PSA is a call-to-action in response to the rising hate, discrimination and violence against the transgender communities. White Ribbon’s primary objective, as a dedicated ally to the transgender communities, is to facilitate constructive dialogue that diminishes transphobia, promotes healthy masculinities and allyship, and, in turn, works towards the prevention reduction of all forms of gender-based violence in today’s society.

“In the past year, the 2SLGBTQI+ community has endured rising hate crimes, threats, and discrimination, particularly targeting transgender individuals,” says Humberto Carolo, White Ribbon Chief Executive Officer. “As a dedicated ally, White Ribbon has developed Short Life Stories to honour the transgender communities and highlight the profound reality that the journey towards their authentic selves can be a long and emotional process. Tragically, far too often, these individuals have their lives cut short by gender-based violence, hate and discrimination.”

A 2023 study commissioned by White Ribbon and Angus Reid explores the current Canadian sentiment on how transgender individuals are treated in society. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians believe transgender people face more violence and discrimination compared to cisgender people – this number jumps to 81 per cent for Canadians who know someone who is transgender. Canadians with a transgender loved one feel Canadians don’t understand the struggles and barriers transgender people face (80 per cent) and believe the hatred and ignorance that transgender people face in Canadian society is horrible (79 per cent).

“In the face of increasing protests against the transgender communities, there has been a strong and passionate counter-protest from the 2SLGBTQI+ community and their allies, advocating for the fundamental human right to express one’s true identity,” says Helen Kennedy, Executive Director, Egale Canada. “In these challenging times, we deeply appreciate the support of ally organizations like White Ribbon, who bring initiatives like this to the forefront in the hopes of creating a world without homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and all other forms of oppression so that every person can achieve their full potential, free from violence, hatred and bias.”

The spot launches during Transgender Awareness Week (November 13 – 19), leading into support for both Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 – December 10). Short Life Stories aims to raise awareness of the critical need to dismantle transphobia by showcasing the brevity of transgender lives in a film celebrating their journey from the day they transition and truly begin to live their authentic lives.

“Part of what drew me to this PSA is that although we often hear narratives of violence against trans individuals, White Ribbon works directly with men to learn healthy behaviours and embrace allyship, leading to actionable change,” says Kiara-Kumail, lead actor in the PSA. “What I hope viewers will get out of this is a sense of celebration for trans people, for the whole, rich, multifaceted and vibrant community that it is. I imagine a world where we are not mourning the deaths of trans people, but celebrating their lives while they dance through the streets with all their unbridled and unapologetic joy.”

White Ribbon has always focused on highlighting the systemic and societal issues that lead to gender-based violence. Its mission is to help men and boys understand the reality and dimension of this issue so they can become allies, challenge harmful behaviours, and make real change.

The campaign is created by Toronto-based creative agency Bensimon Byrne, with PR by its sister shop Narrative, who have both worked with White Ribbon for five years.

“With this film, we tried to show the joy that is possible within the transgender community,” says Joseph Bonnici, CCO for Bensimon Byrne’s parent company, Tadiem. “The joy that can come from acceptance. The joy that can come from allyship. But often this acceptance is cruelly taken away and their basic human rights denied. The transgender community needs as much empathy and support as possible right now and that’s what we hope to create with this film.”


Campaign Title: Short Life Stories
Client: White Ribbon
Executive Director: Humberto Carolo
Senior Program Manager: Louise Moyer
Director of Marketing and Communications: David Garzon

Agency: Bensimon Byrne/Narrative
Chief Creative Officer: Joseph Bonnici
Executive Creative Director: Debbie Chan
Creative Director: David Mueller
Associate Creative Director: Ana Segurajauregui Sanchez
Art Director: Nina Hang
Writers: Ana Segurajauregui Sanchez, Nina Hang, David Mueller
Producer: Katie Link
Business Lead: Pat Martini
Program Director: Oliver Glover
Account Director: Cole Douglas
Senior Account Manager: Olutunu Oyelola
Account Managers: Kayla Metcalfe, Rachel Romu, Samantha Sartor, Sreeja Sasidharan
Media Planner: Karin Julman
Digital Media Planner: Athena Bantis
Associate Director of Social Content: Rebecca Milner

Production Company: Westside Studio
Director: Angie Bird
Executive Producer: Amanda Morrison
Producer: Michelle Woodward
Director of Photography: Daniel Grant

Editorial: School Editing
Editor: Izzy Ehrlich
Assistant: Zhenya Dolzikov
Post Production Producer: Yumi Suyama

Transfer: AlterEgo
Colorist: Eric Whipp
Producer: Spencer Butt

Post Production: Fort York
Online Artist: Melissa Vasiliev
Online Producer: Valerie Moss

Sound Design: Oso Audio
Music Licensing: Oso Audio
Track ID: Praise You (Cover)– Hannah Grace
Creative Directors: Daenen Bramberger, Harry Knazan
Producer: Lauren Dobbie, Jane Heath

About White Ribbon:
Now in its 32nd year, White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end gender-based violence, and promote gender equity, healthy relationships, allyship and a new vision of masculinities. It was founded in 1991, in response to the murder of 14 women engineering students at Polytechnique Montréal in 1989. Since then, and among its many calls to action, White Ribbon asks men and boys to wear white ribbons as a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.

About Angus Reid Forum
The Angus Reid Forum is Canada’s most well-known and trusted online public opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.

These are the findings of a study/survey conducted by White Ribbon from October 27th to November 1st, 2023 among a representative sample of n=1,509 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French and the sample frame was balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education according to the latest census data. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.