Once upon a time, CC Trubiak wrote a song called ‘Prairie Boy’. The year was actually 2010. The setting, Ottawa, Ontario. At the time I was a full-time social work student at Carleton University, working my way through the program in hopes to one day become a qualified counsellor. However, as a singer/songwriter I was just getting my feet wet in terms of working on the independently recorded They Say I’m Different (Torrid Productions).
While I was studying at Carleton I got word that a two-day conference called Victims Voices Matter was being put on by the Ottawa Police Service queer liaison committee and Ottawa’s queer community centre project. The conference itself would cover a wide range of topics from reporting homophobic violence to letters from victims of hate crimes and workshops on queer terminology.
I thought the conference idea itself was a great one; not only did it seem progressive but somehow I thought anything that encourages the breakdown of gay stereotypes and the building of bridges between the ‘gay community’ and the larger society was good in my books. You could imagine my surprise when one of the organizers contacted me directly to invite me, as an openly gay singer/songwriter/social worker to write a song in honour of this two-day conference.
I took the opportunity seriously – and thus went home and worked on a song that I felt would hopefully encapsulate my story in a snap-shot. After experiencing bullying in my own youth growing up in Flin Flon, I could appreciate how the conference was about building support and understanding between the queer community and police officers.
Out of it came ‘Prairie Boy’; a song that draws a lot of visual images of feeling like a loner in an unwelcoming world. A young ‘fairy’ boy who’s a vulnerable, yet resilient dreamer. Not only did I get the chance to perform it at Victims Voices Matter, but I was able record it as well – produced by The PepTides band leader Claude Marquis.
I recall about 150 people attended the conference, with RCMP officers joining police from Hamilton, Cornwall, Peterborough and Waterloo. It seemed to me that the conference generated discussions and broke down some barriers. I for one, was honored to be a part of it and looking back on it today after some time – I can’t help but be proud of how this little song was born.