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Life Lived Trans: Life in Davie Village during the 1970s

Transgender model, performance artist and activist Mardi Pantz shares what it was really like to live in Davie Village during the 1970s and '80s.

During the 1970s, Mardi Pantz ran away from home in Calgary at just 15 years old in search of a new life in Vancouver.

Like many transgender young people, she moved to Davie Village, a relative sanctuary for queer people at the time. 

Mardi Pantz describes the late '70s and early '80s of Davie Street as a "refuge" and "a stroll for a lot of marginalized people." In Vancouver, she found a mother figure, who took her in, in exchange for assisting with errands and helping around the house.  

According to Mardi Pantz, life in Davie Village was a "school of hard knocks." She became a survival sex worker and having left the scene at 28, could only watch as many of her friends died.

"I just started to watch all of my friends die," she told Vancouver Is Awesome. "Died from AIDS or this person got killed or this person killed themselves. And it just went on and on and on." 

Mardi Pantz now lives with her husband on Vancouver Island.

You can find out more about her amazing life on her TikTok channel. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is available.

  • In an emergency, call 9-1-1
  • In a crisis, call 1-800-784-2433
  • In need of support, call 310-6789 (no area code needed)

You can find a full list of resources on the B.C. government’s website.