“I don’t see myself as a victim anymore, I see myself as a champion,” Kane, a survivor of child welfare, abuse, drug addiction, suicide, and more, said stoically. His demeanour confident, warm, and passionate.

His story began as soon as he came into the world. His entire life had been a constant fight for survival – until now as he stands strong as an activist.

Kane Blacque was born in January 1976. His birth mother was a young woman and a struggling addict. She was only 15 years old when she fell pregnant with Kane.

Only shortly after his birth, Kane would become introduced to unspeakable physical abuse at the hands of his mother, who was addicted to alcohol and sniffing glue.

By his third birthday, his birth mother had been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 14-month-old sister.

At this point, Kane was apprehended and handed to the foster system. He was placed in his first foster home shortly after that, and instead of finding a place of solitude and safety, Kane was repeatedly violated.

The physical abuse from his birth mother would spiral into sexual abuse from his foster brother – who repeatedly raped and molested Kane. Records state that the Child Welfare system had a record of this abuse but didn’t intervene. This was Kane’s first taste of how brutal and corrupt the foster system could be – and would continue to be for many following years of Kane’s young life.

At six years old, Kane was finally adopted out of the foster system with his sibling and moved to a much smaller city with his new adoptive parents.

Kane was hopeful that this transition would put an end to the abuse that he had suffered throughout his life. However, his six years with his adopted family posed their own problems.

Moving away from the big city atmosphere, Kane found himself outcasted by a smaller, close-minded town. He was a gay, Aboriginal boy that often found himself to be the target of bullying in school. He had a difficult time fitting in – and often found his interests being different from that of his peers.

The other children were cruel.

And so was his home life.

His adoptive father was unsupportive of Kane’s flamboyant interests. Kane was interested in theatre, drama and dance. He had a personality that was larger than life, and his adoptive father tried to shrink that. When Kane wanted to enrol in artistic extracurricular activities, his father would often respond with enrollment in activities that were “better suited” for boys.

The struggle of his adoptive father’s inability to accept Kane for face value was only emphasized with his mother’s fiery temper. Though Kane and his adoptive mother had a more supportive, comfortable relationship, she would become abusive when she was in a violent rage. She would beat Kane with nearby objects when she became angry.

In result, Kane became withdrawn and anti-social. Child Welfare reports cite his frequency to act out with both physical and sexual aggression.

At only 13-years-old, Kane’s adoptive family had requested Kane be removed from the household and put back into the foster system. The province became his permanent guardian. Over the next three years, Kane would be moved throughout over twenty placements.

By 14-years-old, Kane began prostituting himself – often hired by older men, in their late 30-40s. He would go to school during the day, and then to diving practice. For years, he would finish his day by picking up johns.

In 1991, Child Welfare documents report Kane being allegedly kidnapped and severely assaulted while working as a prostitute. Despite this, there were no resources provided to the boy.

By 16 years old, he became the victim of a child predator, Doug Butler.

Butler enticed Blacque into “auditioning” for a sexually explicit film about a gay boy’s coming of age. Butler filmed the “audition” which made Kane a victim of child pornography. Butler was eventually charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and rape years after Kane had first reported the abuse to police, where it fell on deaf ears.

Eventually, Blacque began using drugs and alcohol. He would shoplift, set fires and continued prostituting. He dropped out of high school and quit diving. He attempted suicide many times, however, his attempts were never taken seriously by his caseworkers. Help was never offered to the boy that was failed repeatedly by the system.

Psychiatrists would label him as “extremely manipulative” and would suggest that his suicide attempts “can not be taken seriously”. The healthcare and child welfare system refused to intervene and offer Kane help. Years later, Blacque would end up being diagnosed with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. These disorders are now being treated with medication, however, they went untreated for decades due to the disinterest of help from the system.

By 18, Kane was fueled by drug addiction and began with a high-end escort agency in Edmonton. He was one of the highest paid escorts in the city and the agency supplied him with a car and bodyguard.

Alongside all of the abuse, neglect and trauma that Kane Blacque has suffered throughout his life, he also was completely stripped of his Aboriginal identity by the province. Throughout the years, child welfare documents have switched from naming him as “Metis” to eventually “Caucasian”.

Blacque is a survivor of the “Sixties Scoop”. From the early 1950s to the late 1980s, Canadian Indigenous children were taken from their homes and placed into predominately non-Indigenous families. This was fueled by the Indian Act of 1952, where the province had jurisdiction over Indigenous child welfare. This act was devastating to Aboriginal communities across Canada, and ultimately, to the Indigenous children that were completely assimilated into a primarily Caucasian culture – with no recognition or respect paid to their roots.

Decades later, Blacque is still fighting with the Federal Government to be granted his status as Metis, that was unfairly denied to him years ago.

Though faced with years of unimaginable adversity throughout his life, Kane Blacque now finds himself in a loving and supportive relationship with a meaningful job. He is a proud dog dad to his Beagles.

Today, Kane’s only vice is smoking cigarettes and he has worked for SOS Safety Magazine full-time for five years now. He has been with his fiancé for six years.

Kane is an example of a man that came out on top and conquered every difficulty that was imposed on him.

When asked what advice he would give to somebody else going through similar circumstances, he answered, “Find a reason to fight. Just keep fighting. You fight to stay alive.”

He is now a keynote speaker for the magazine and is currently writing a book about his life experiences. He strives to be an advocate for men, boys and LGBT youth.

Written by Celina Dawdy