Our interest in our Girl Warriors doesn’t end with their interview with us. We keep up with what they are doing and follow their continued accomplishments and pursuit of greatness with admiration and awe. Every Girl Warrior has continued their journey of growth and that is a wonderful thing to witness. With that in mind, we’re engaging in follow-up, ‘where are they now’ interviews, that we know you’ll love as much, if not more, than the original. This is the first in the series. Raise your fists high and put your hands together in celebration.
We first introduced you to Girl Warrior Aime Hutton in the summer of 2019 in an interview called Empowering Girls to be Their Real Brave Selves Inch by Inch. When we first met Aime, she had already accomplished so much, and we were all beyond the beyond impressed with her. But a lot has happened with her since then – both professionally and personally. On the personal front, Aime came out in 2020 as lesbian, and has been dating a wonderful woman since June 2021. Their love was strong and true. They shared it joyously and proudly with everyone when they announced their engagement in June 2022. As for her thriving career, Aime continues her passionate work as a youth coach for LGBTQ2S+ youth ages 11 to 14, guiding and inspiring them on their coming–out journeys. She is also now an Emotional CPR Educator, where she facilitates 12-hour certificate programs in Emotional CPR – helping a peer through an emotional crisis. Aime’s ‘day job’ as Job Developer with the Ready to Rise Program (within the ETHOS Career Management Group) concentrates on helping women from four focus groups gain meaningful employment. As part of that work, she networks with potential employers to assist these women in finding employment or volunteer work. In this interview, Aime also shares one of the scariest things she has ever done. You’ll need to keep reading to find out what it was but here’s a hint in five words – warrior, phoenix, Goddess, leader, and survivor. And our word for Aime is YES!
You came out as a Lesbian in 2020. Why then?
In 2020 I was working with a coach, who one day during a private coaching call with her, could tell I was still hiding something. And that I was still holding onto a secret. I can remember her asking me if I thought that I was attracted to only women. I started crying when she asked. I squeaked out the words, I am attracted to women only. My coach had me take a breath and say it over, and over again until I could say it loudly and boldly. Hi, my name is Aime and I’m a lesbian.
Who did you tell first and why them?
I actually forget who I told this time. I think I just made a post of Facebook about it. My parents already knew I was a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
How did you feel right after you told them?
I was able to take a big full breath. I felt lighter, and more centered in who I am.
Were you afraid of how people would react?
This time not as much. I had already come out as bisexual a year before. I had lost a couple of connections then on social media.
Yet there is something I am afraid of today. I am afraid of those who are against the LGBTQ2S+ community. I am afraid for my own safety. And the safety of my partner. There are those in the city who do not accept those who are a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
I was walking down a street, very close to my apartment, in the Fall of 2020 and was getting ready to go into a store. It was a time when we had to wear masks in a store. My mask that I had on has a rainbow pride heart symbol and the words Pride 2020. As I crossed the street a man stared at me intently. When I crossed in front of him on the sidewalk, he pointed at me and said that I was going to burn in hell.
And right now, as I type these answers, I am reminded of the protests by folks who feel drag shows that are for families, or a Reading with Royalty are unsafe for children. When in actual fact, they are not. I’m not going to get into it right now, yet I am fearful for the drag queens/kings and the trans community. They are being targeted for being who they are. And what’s next? Will the protesters come for myself and my fiancé?
How did you meet your fiancé and how did meeting her change the way you felt about yourself?
T and I met online, on Plenty of Fish. I was worried yet took a chance. T told me later that they also took a chance in dating again. They had been in a previous relationship that when it ended, they thought they were done dating.
I felt nervous at first, yet T had lots of patience and let me go at my own pace. I felt more connected to my core and who I was.
How do you help the LGBTQ2S+ youth that you coach with their coming-out journey?
I help the youth be okay with being themselves. Helping them to accept and embrace who they are. I also help youth in feeling brave, and bold in all areas of their lives. If they want to, I also support them in telling others in their lives who are important to them. I guide the youth and let them lead the conversations too.
What’s are the critical things they need to know?
Being comfortable in who they are. For youth to love and accept themselves fully.
What’s an Emotional CPR Educator?
An Emotional CPR Educator is someone who can teach the modality of Emotional CPR. We all know what CPR is, yes? That’s helping the heart through a physical trauma or crisis. Emotional CPR is helping the heart through an emotional trauma or crisis. It is a peer-to-peer method. It is not Mental Health First Aid.
When I introduced Emotional CPR to the Calgary Teachers Convention, the teachers in the small workshop room said that this is needed in all schools for teachers and staff to take to help their students, and their fellow teachers.
Tell us about your work with Ready to Rise.
Ready to Rise is a program within the ETHOS Career Management Group where I work during the day. Ready to Rise is a federally funded program that helps women from four focus groups come back to the workforce, change current jobs, or go back to post secondary school. The four focus groups that we support are women who self-identify as living with a disability, women who self-identify as being a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community, women who are a part of the BIPOC community, and women who have been out of the workforce for a period of time.
My role as a Job Developer is helping our participants find work, or volunteer work. A neat thing we offer employers is a wage subsidy, where Ready to Rise can help pay for a participant’s salary for up to 3 months. We also offer employers free training on inclusion. The final opportunity we provide our participants is that we invite employers to be guest speakers to talk about their business/company/industry. For example, Bell Canada signed on as an employer and gave a great talk to our participants about working for Bell.
You do so much beautiful selfless work for other people. Does the well ever run dry?
That’s a very interesting question. At times yes, however what is helping is T coming to my condo every weekend and doing things that bring us joy. We volunteer at the Special Olympics together, and enjoy going on adventures to the mountains, or in the city with our cameras taking photos of sun rises, or other things that are of interest to us.
How do you recharge your batteries and refill your soul? What are some of your self-care routines?
Before my day starts, I do a guided mediation on YouTube for about 15 minutes every morning. I close my ‘day job’ work laptop at 4:30 pm every day. I do my best to do things that bring me joy and laugh. I learned that, while working at a different place before my current job at ETHOS.
What helps me recharge is being in nature, by the Elbow River here in Calgary, which is about a 20 minutes’ walk from my condo.
What’s the wildest scariest thing you’ve done since our last interview?
I have stood on stage twice at the YYC Coming Out Monologues and shared my coming out stories. That was a little scary and thrilling all at the same time. Another thing I did, that was something I never thought I would do, was propose to T. We proposed to each other in early June 2022.
In both situations I am so happy that I did. First, to share my story of coming out with others shows adults, who may be struggling with their own sexual or gender identity, that it is a journey, and coming out later in life is perfectly okay.
Then second, in the beginning, dating T was a thrilling and scary experience all at the same time. I thought I would never date again. I was content being single. As our relationship grew together, I now feel safe, loved, seen, supported, and so much more. We trust each other and know that we are a team.
And third, I was a model for a photography book called “Her Body Speaks.” My friend Mark Laurie from Inner Spirit Photography did a call-out for women to be in a photo shoot, nude with five words painted on their body to evoke a story, or feelings of who they are, or want to be. It was scary, as the words I used to call myself were stupid, ugly, retarded, dumb, and a loser. So, to have these new words painted on my body were powerful and very empowering to me. The words are warrior, phoenix, Goddess, leader, and survivor.
Who would you like to go for lunch with – living or dead?
I would love to have lunch with my grandparents again. Both my Nanny, Gramma, Grampy, and Grampa were amazing people. They had so much wisdom and knowledge that I want to ask them stories about when they were younger, what they were passionate about growing up, and more.
What books are on your nightstand?
Tucked into my nightstand are a couple of journals – one for writing down dreams, one for journaling life’s adventures. I also have a tarot/oracle deck and book to go with it.
What does the next chapter of the Book of Aime look like?
More adventures of joy with T. Reaching more youth, and educators. Having fun, living my brave self in all areas of my life.
To learn more about Aime head over to her website: www.aimehutton.ca
To learn more about Inch by Inch check out the website: www.inchbyinchempowerment.com
Follow Aime on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aimehuttonwriterspeaker/
Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aimehutton/