"what a nerd." – katie's wife

Hi there! I'm katie o'brien (they/them), a community worker, queer activist, and Netflix enthusiast living and working in Mohkínstsis (Calgary). I am a recent graduate of the University of Calgary (B.A. in Sociology, minor in Biological Sciences) and Mount Royal University (Dip. Social Work), and am passionate about sex education and LGBTQ2IA+ rights. I also write poetry, and have been published in journals such as (parenthetical), Riddle Fence, NōD Magazine, and HYSTERIA. My second chapbook, t\here, was published by Loft on Eighth Press in January 2017.

photography Ⓒ Mehenaz Moutusi, 2016

Land acknowledgments are sites of potential disruption ⤏ particularly within the social work field, and I try to claim every opportunity to acknowledge my own privilege, culpability, and positionality with regards to history and land. I am a white settler originally from St. John's, Ktaqamkuk (the Mi'kmaq name for the island colonially known as Newfoundland), on the unceded territory of the Beothuk. I live and work on the territory of the Niitsitapi, comprising the Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai; the peoples of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, including the Tsuut'ina and the Ĩyãħé Nakoda First Nations, comprising the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations; and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. I am committed to addressing the legacy of violence that social work as a profession has perpetrated (and continues to perpetrate) against Indigenous peoples in my learning and in my work.

I believe in grassroots activism, natural supports, anti-oppressive pedagogy, and queer socialist feminism. I am passionate about creating inclusive, accountable spaces that centre the perspectives of marginalised folks. My friend Emily ⤏ aims to be "an ally in not only the struggle against imperial, colonial capitalism – but towards a decolonized, sustainable future for the planet and all its inhabitants." While I struggle with the idea of allyship ⤏, this seems like a pretty great personal mission statement to me.

Read Me

crabstone, nowhere steps, & skerwink, in Riddle Fence ⤏

2016 | performance Ⓒ Coral Short, photography Ⓒ Devon Crosby

abandonment issues & reflection, in Murmur House ⤏

2016 | artwork Ⓒ Kevin Ng

this is not about virginity, in Birds We Piled Loosely ⤏

2016 | artwork Ⓒ James Scales, ed. with permission by Nicole Letson


t\here: two-homed tales

2017 | Loft on Eighth Press
my second (!) chapbook is an exploration of what it means to exist as both a Calgarian on Treaty 7 land and a diasporic Newfoundlander. this book was written during my 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects residency in 2016; many thanks especially to Catherine Beaudette, Colette Laliberté, Margaret Ryall, and Lisa Murphy-Lamb.

a Little Golden Book of   eating disorders

2015 | self-published
a Little Golden Book of   eating disorders is a reflection of my struggles with binge eating disorder. drawn from online journal entries from 2013/14, the poems in this work betray the persistent, patterned, and addictive thought processes experienced in my most unhealthy moments.