Transgender community faces ‘astronomical gap’ in health care system, advocates say – National IG News

IG news Update,

Every year as November approaches, men across Canada grow mustaches to help raise money for men’s health.

But for the transgender community, accessing the health care system can be difficult.

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“It’s been quite a struggle trying to live and exist,” Jack Saddleback, a 32-year-old Cree two-spirit transgender gay man, told Global News from Saskatchewan.

“We have an astronomical gap when it comes to trans health care,” he said.

As an activist, speaker and program director of JusticeTrans — supporting members of the community with access to legal information — Saddleback would like to see a more intersectional and equitable health care system for transgender individuals in Canada.

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“We need trans-competent health care systems,” he said. “Creating one standard health care across the country would enable our common health care systems to be that much better, that much more intersectional and that much more accessible.”

Click to play video: 'Transgender and non-binary populations now represented in national census'

Transgender and non-binary populations now represented in national census

According to 2021 Statistics Canada census data released in April, there are at least 100,815 transgender and non-binary individuals in Canada.

With a health system based on a “gender cis-normative binary,” according to Saddleback, education is key to making things more accessible to the transgender community.

“Education is going to be key to creating this accessible, intersectional space that is fueled by the loving mindset that everyone deserves the highest quality of care,” she added.

With access varying depending on where you live in the country, Saddleback is looking to bring together regions across the country to implement more universal care.

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“I want people to know that when they’re in Vancouver and they fly all the way to Halifax or Nunavut, they’re going to get the exact same care every step of the way,” he said. “Not much time to wait.”

Jack Saddleback is an activist, speaker and program director for JusticeTrans based in Saskatchewan.

Provided by Jack Saddleback

But even as advocates are fighting for better access at the government level, challenges remain.

According to Ontario MPP Kristin Wong-Tam, transgender Canadians have never found the health care system to be fully accessible.

“Public health care in Canada has never worked for them. It has never met their needs,” he told Global News.

That’s why Wong-Tam has introduced a bill in her province called the Gender Affirmation Health Care Advisory Committee Act in an effort to help eliminate barriers and improve access for transgender Ontarians.

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The government had previously looked at a bill introduced by Wong-Tam’s predecessor, Suze Morrison, in 2021, but it was not progressed beyond a second reading.

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Before re-introducing the bill this year, Wong-tam contacted several conservative MPPs and sought their support to help the bill pass by unanimous consent. This would skip the debate process and allow the bill to be enacted faster.

However, this support was not given.

“Their allies are demonstrative and when it comes to providing assistance to actually save the lives of trans people, they would choose not to do so. To me it’s really pathetic why the government is resisting,” Wong-Tam said.

“I think the Ontario government, led by Premier Doug Ford, needs to understand that gender-affirming health care is nothing new in Canada,” she said, pointing to access in other regions such as British Columbia.

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Talking with community members about access has also been “powerful” for Wong-Tam.

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“Some of the most powerful stories for me are actually hearing from parents,” he said. “They recognize that their children are in harm’s way. They believe that their children’s mental health will suffer if they don’t take action to help them. Parents fight for their children’s right to basic health care.” They are doing everything they can for that.”

For Christy Kennedy, a parent of a transgender child on the waiting list for gender-affirming procedures, this type of health care “makes every difference for a child who is trans.”

“As parents, we want our kids to be happy. We tell our kids that whatever they may be, so let them be. In a recent release from Wong-Tam, Kennedy said, “Let them be who they are.”

According to a 2020 report by Trans Pulse, which surveyed more than 2,873 transgender and non-binary people in Canada aged 14 or older, while 81 per cent said they had a primary health care provider, nearly half reported that Also said that he does not have one or more health issues. Needs care.

The survey also revealed that respondents experienced abuse related to their gender identity in the last five years, as 68 percent experienced verbal harassment, 16 percent physical assault and 26 percent sexual assault.

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Gender-affirming health coverage by Canadian province, territory

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In addition, in 2020, 259 people from 2SLGBTQ+ communities in Canada were the target of police-reported hate crimes based on their sexual orientation, according to Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marcy Ian.

The federal government launched Canada’s first ever action plan for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in August, with the aim of creating a more equitable country.

Part of the plan is to embed 2SLGBTQ+ issues into the work of the Government of Canada.

“It is the duty of all of us to fight the social stigma affecting this group. We strongly encourage everyone in Canada to support 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and trans people in particular, to end systemic discrimination based on sexual orientation, sexual characteristics and gender identity and expression. ,

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