Transgender Awareness Week 2021

Day 7 – Letter to Metis people who are questioning   Friday, November 19, 2021 

Monique Courcelles, Métis woman, from the Ministry of Women and Gender Equity has shared her writing to honour Métis people who are questioning their gender identity.

To all the Métis people who are questioning their gender identity, 

For centuries, colonization has tried to invalidate and assimilate us to erase the knowledge of our ancestors deep within our bones, and to erase our existence from history books. Colonization has enforced a gender-binary that tells us that we can only exist as the sex we were assigned at birth, and within that we have been cast out of spaces because we have been told we do not belong within this colonial narrative of who we should be. Some people will tell you that there is no history of gender diverse people within the Métis Nation, people who don’t remember the impacts of colonization and the difference between written history and oral history.  

For some of us whose spirit doesn’t fit the story imprinted on our bodies, this narrative tells us that there is something wrong with us. Deep in our hearts we hear the whispers of our ancestors telling us we belong, we are worthy, we are enough and most importantly we are sacred.  There is nothing wrong with you, you are in the process of coming home within yourself and within your culture.   
 
Sometimes embracing who we are is meant to be a means mourning who we thought we were, and relationships we thought we’d always have. Stepping into our true nature can be both isolating and liberating and within that we must ensure that we take care of our tender and weary hearts and surround ourselves with people who love us and embrace who we are becoming. With that, try to remember that you are an ever evolving and changing being, you don’t have to have all the answers at this very moment.

 
Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 


Day 6 – Child Welfare  Thursday, November 18, 2021 

Métis have been negatively impacted by the Child Welfare System in BC and Canada. The history is long regarding the removal of Métis children and the removal continues at a rate greater than any other Indigenous population in Canada.  Children were stolen and placed in residential schools or within the care of non-Indigenous families, which resulted in loss of familial and cultural connections, language, access to ceremony and knowledge sharing.1 The echoes of assimilation can be heard throughout the current system. From the 2016 census report, there were 20,600 Métis children and youth under the age of 15 living in British Columbia. One child out of every 50 children were living in foster care with the same number of children living with grandparents or family members outside of their immediate family.2 
 
The 2017 Invisible Children report from the Representative of Children and Youth Office, analyzed 183 injuries and death reports of Métis children and youth in care from 2015-2017, for 117 Métis children and youth in care in British Columbia.  The top three causes of injuries in care were: sexualized violence, suicide attempts, and caregiver mistreatment. This report also indicated that very few of these children had plans to be reunited with family or alternative plans if that was not possible, and only two youth were placed with Métis families, which indicates limited access to culturally relevant knowledge and connections.3
 
Only 2% of the 117 youth in care identified as gender diverse and they did not have care plans. Therefore, this report is limited to a gender-binary lens (boy and girl) and does not highlight key concerns faced by gender-diverse children in care.4 Although there is little research on 2SLGBTQQIA+ children in care within British Columbia, research based out of Ontario suggests that 2SLGBTQQIA+ children are overrepresented in the child welfare system due to rejection, neglect and/or abuse by family due to colonial views on gender identity, sexual orientation and/or gender expression.5 
 
2SLGBTQQIA+ children and youth in care also experience many challenges within the child welfare system as the system was not built to meet the needs of youth outside the colonial gender and/or sexual orientation spectrum along with intersecting cultural needs. 
 
Some of these challenges include6

  • Difficulty finding a trusted person to be open with about their identity (e.g., an ally in whom to confide).  
  • Lack of safe, welcoming placement options and permanent homes that affirm, and are inclusive of, 2SLGBTQQIA+ identities.  
  •  Hostility, harassment, or violence from their peers in foster and group care settings that may go unchallenged by staff and caregivers.  
  • Child protection workers and caregivers who lack awareness and understanding of the needs of 2SLGBTQQIA+ children and youth and/or the resources available to support them.  
  • Challenges developing lasting relationships or accessing appropriate services due to stigma and discrimination.  
  • Lack of understanding by child welfare professionals of their roles in supporting families who may be struggling with their 2SLGBTQQIA+ child or youth’s gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. 
  •  Lack of specific 2SLGBTQQIA+ inclusion policies and promising practices (e.g., placement related to gender identity, access to gender-affirming health care).  

The National Inquiry’s Final Report on MMIWG2S+ outlines Calls for Justice to address harm within Canada’s child welfare system, the following are only a small sample:  
 
12.2 We call upon on all governments, including Indigenous governments, to transform current child welfare systems fundamentally so that Indigenous communities have control over the design and delivery of services for their families and children. These services must be adequately funded and resourced to ensure better support for families and communities to keep children in their family homes.  

12.3 We call upon all governments and Indigenous organizations to develop and apply a definition of “best interests of the child” based on distinct Indigenous perspectives, world views, needs, and priorities, including the perspective of Indigenous children and youth. The primary focus and objective of all child and family services agencies must be upholding and protecting the rights of the child through ensuring the health and well-being of children, their families, and communities, and family unification and reunification.  

12.4 We call upon all governments to prohibit the apprehension of children on the basis of poverty and cultural bias. All governments must resolve issues of poverty, inadequate and substandard housing, and lack of financial support for families, and increase food security to ensure that Indigenous families can succeed. 
 
17.4 We call upon all governments to fund and support Métis-specific programs and services that meet the needs of Métis people in an equitable manner, and dedicated Métis advocacy bodies and institutions, including but not limited to Métis health authorities and Métis child welfare agencies.   
 
17.17 We call upon all governments to provide more funding and support for Métis child welfare agencies and for child placements in Métis homes.   
 
18.32 We call upon child welfare agencies to engage in education regarding the realities and perspectives of 2SLGBTQQIA youth; to provide 2SLGBTQQIA competency training to parents and caregivers, especially to parents of trans children and in communities outside of urban centres; and to engage in and provide education for parents, foster families, and other youth service providers regarding the particular barriers to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA youth.   

Visit Representative for Children and Youth for the report on Invisible Children, Ontario’s LGBT2SQ Resource Guide for children and youth in the child welfare system and  National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ for the report and Calls for Justice. 
Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 
 
For inquiries, contact Ministry of Children and Families bsingh@mnbc.ca 
 
Or Ministry of Women and Gender Equity mowge@mnbc.ca 


Day 5 – Housing and Homelessness Wednesday, November 17, 2021 
 
The National Inquiry for MMIWG2S+ states that Indigenous Peoples experience homelessness at higher rates than non-Indigenous peoples, and rates of homelessness for women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ are even greater. People who experience homelessness are at greater risk of violence and death. 
 
In 2014/15, the McCreary Centre Society and Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) surveyed 681 youth between 12-19 years of age, experiencing homelessness and street involvement among 13 communities across BC.  53% of these youth identified as Indigenous, and 34% of the Indigenous youth identified as 2SLGBTQQQIA+, of which 3% identified as transgender and 36% identified as Two-Spirit. 
 
Just over half (51%) of queer youth were homeless because of family conflict, some of which was due to rejection based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and a third of 2SLGBTQQIA+ youth surveyed became homeless around 12-13 years of age.1 
 
Many of these youth experienced high rates of transphobic and homophobic violence, and social stigma within shelters and support services. Many of the programs geared towards youth create barriers and cause harm for transgender and gender-diverse youth as they follow colonial systemic narratives of binary gender identity (man and woman). Barriers to safe housing faced by 2SLGBTQQIA+ youth include: family rejection, poverty, lack of affirming social services, education and employment. The survey also indicated the importance of cultural connectedness to positive health outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness.
 
Most of the Indigenous youth surveyed indicated the top five services which were lacking in their communities, as safe and affordable housing, safe houses/shelter/transitional housing, job training/work experience, youth clinics and life skills training.
 
The following are some transgender rights within housing:  

  • The right to housing that is free from discriminatory harassment and violence. Private landlords, BC Housing, student housing operators, cooperatives, commercial real-estate companies, First Nations bands on a reserve, RCMP housing operators, temporary shelters, residential care facilities, and hospitals all have a duty to maintain a harassment-free tenancy. 
  • The right to equal housing access regardless of gender identity. It is discriminatory for housing providers to refuse to rent on the basis of gender-identity. This applies to housing provided by private landlords, BC Housing, student housing operators, cooperatives, commercial real-estate companies, First Nations bands on a reserve, and the RCMP. It also applies to temporary shelters, residential care facilities, and hospitals. 

The rights of transgender people withing shelters, residential care facilities, and hospitals include:  

  • The right to be placed according gender identity in a facility that is segregated into ‘male’ and ‘female’ spaces.  
  • The right to be referred to by chosen name and pronouns. 
  • The right to wear clothing that is corresponds with gender identity. 
  • The right to have the agency keep the status of gender-identity confidential from other residents.  
  • The right to have the agency keep any records that include our trans status confidential. 
  • The right to use the toilet and shower facilities that corresponds with gender identity or, if non-binary, where ever is safest. 

The National Inquiry’s Final Report on MMIWG2S+ outlines Calls for Justice to address harm within Canada’s Housing system, the following are only a small sample:  
 
4.6 We call upon all governments to immediately commence the construction of new housing and the provision of repairs for existing housing to meet the housing needs of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. This construction and provision of repairs must ensure that Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people have access to housing that is safe, appropriate to geographic and cultural needs, and avail-able wherever they reside, whether in urban, rural, remote, or Indigenous communities. 

4.7 We call upon all governments to support the establishment and long-term sustainable funding of Indigenous-led low-barrier shelters, safe spaces, transition homes, second-stage housing, and services for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people who are homeless, near homeless, dealing with food insecurity, or in poverty, and who are fleeing violence or have been subjected to sexualized violence and exploitation. All governments must ensure that shelters, transitional housing, second-stage housing, and services are appropriate to cultural needs, and available wherever Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people reside.   
 
18.24 We call upon all governments to address homelessness, poverty, and other socioeconomic barriers to equitable and substantive rights for 2SLGBTQQIA people.    
 
18.25 We call upon all governments to build safe spaces for people who need help and who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, which includes access to safe, dedicated 2SLGBTQQIA shelters and housing, dedicated beds in shelters for trans and non-binary individuals, and 2SLGBTQQIA-specific support services for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals in housing and shelter spaces.   

Visit McCreary Centre Society for the report on Homeless and Street Involved Youth Survey, National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ for the report and Calls for Justice and Trans Rights BC for more information on rights within the housing system.


Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 
 
For inquiries, contact Ministry of Housing and Homelessness housing@mnbc.ca 
 
Or Ministry of Women and Gender Equity mowge@lec2gjmq


Day 4  Education Wednesday, November 17, 2021
 
In 2018, the McCreary Centre Society and Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) surveyed 38,000 youth ages 12-19 from 58 of the 60 school districts in BC; 2.5%, about 6,295 people identified as gender diverse. Less than half of those identified as gender diverse felt safe at school with 82% of trans boys, 60% of trans girls, 70% of non-binary youth, and 65% of questioning youth experienced bullying.1 
 
There is emphasis on challenging the gender binary for children and youth in school by creating spaces of belonging by using a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) lens, which views sexual orientation and gender identity as a spectrum as opposed to reinforced colonial constructs. This lens greatly focuses on inclusion through questioning practices such as the use of language, dress codes, curriculum, accessibility of spaces and encourages the facilitation of teacher training focused on creating spaces of belonging for all children in their care.2 
 
The following are some transgender rights within education:  

  • The right to an educational environment free from discrimination. 
  • The right to an educational environment free from harassment because we are trans. This includes the right to an environment free from violence, verbal abuse, threats, and bullying. 

The right to be accommodated as a transgender student includes: 

  • The right to be addressed by the name and pronouns, regardless of our legal name or sex. 
  • The right to wear clothing that corresponds with gender expression. 
  • The right to play on sports teams that correspond with gender identity. 
  • The right to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with gender identity. If gender identity is not binary (male or female), the right to choose the change rooms, bathrooms, classes, and pronouns that feel safest.  
  • The right to attend classes that correspond with gender identity when classes are segregated by gender. 
  • The right to have our trans status treated with the same degree of privacy as medical information.3 

The National Inquiry’s Final Report on MMIWG2S+ outlines Calls for Justice to address harm within Canada’s education system, the following are only a small sample:  
 
18.11 We call upon all governments, service providers, industry, and institutions to accommodate non-binary gender identities in program and service design, and offer gender-neutral washrooms and change rooms in facilities. 

18.15 We call upon all governments, educators, and those involved in research to support and conduct research and knowledge gathering on pre-colonial knowledge and teachings about the place, roles, and responsibilities of 2SLGBTQQIA people within their respective communities, to support belonging, safety, and well-being.  

18.16 We call upon all governments and educators to fund and support specific Knowledge Keeper gatherings on the topic of reclaiming and re-establishing space and community for 2SLGBTQQIA people.  

18.17 We call upon all governments, service providers, and educators to fund and support the re-education of communities and individuals who have learned to reject 2SLGBTQQIA people, or who deny their important history and contemporary place within communities and in ceremony, and to address transphobia and homophobia in communities (for example, with anti-transphobia and anti-homophobia programs), to ensure cultural access for 2SLGBTQQIA people. 

18.19 We call upon all governments, service providers, and educators to educate the public on the history of non-gender binary people in Indigenous societies, and to use media, including social media, as a way to build awareness and understanding of 2SLGBTQQIA issues. 

Visit I Dream Library for 2SLGBTQQIA+ BIPOC representation in educational tools, SARAVYC to view the report on gender-diversity in BC youth, National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ for the report and Calls for Justice and Trans Rights BC for more information on rights within the education system. 
Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 
 
For inquiries, contact Ministry of Education metiseducation@mnbc.ca 
 
Or Ministry of Women and Gender Equity mowge@mnbc.ca 


Day 3 Airport security and body scanners  Monday, November 15, 2021 

Airport security for trans and non-binary people is a challenge that needs awareness, regulations, and policy implementation. In 2017, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) added a new policy recognizing the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, specifically transgender people. This policy gives transgender people the right to choose the gender(s) of their officer(s) to perform a physical body search when required1. Although this is a step in the right direction, the policy is not enough to ensure that the policy is upheld, more policies are implemented, and transgender people’s rights are protected.  

Full Body Scanners:  

Many major airports have full-body scanners that perform a digital scan of the body2. These full-body scanners are used to detect weapons and non-weapons. If a person does not feel comfortable going through a full-body scanner, they have the right to request a physical search. If a traveler proceeds with the full-body scanner and it scans something potentially out of the ordinary, they may be subject to a physical search as well. At this point, the traveler has the right to choose the gender(s) of the security officer(s) performing the physical body search and determine which officer they are most comfortable searching different areas of the body.  

CATSA recently updated some of their full-body scanner machines; the new scanner no longer reveals identifying body features for a more gender-neutral scan. Images from these scans are also deleted immediately after use to protect the privacy of travelers. This created a lot of potential for discrimination? for those whose gender identity did not match the sex on their identification. This system is very binary and should be updated across all airport security checkpoints.  

CATSA’s updated policy3 on their website reads:  

A physical search is always conducted in the most professional and respectful manner possible. While a screening officer of the same gender as the passenger typically conducts any required searches, CATSA realizes that some members of the transgender community may not be comfortable with this process. To address this concern, transgender, and transsexual passengers (including persons who are in the process of transitioning) can request that: 

  • The entire search be conducted by either a male or a female screening officer (unless the requested gender is not available) or. 
  • A split search is conducted (I.e., a female screening officer searches one half or part of the body and a male screening officer searches the other half or part of the body). 

Passengers are not required to reveal that they are transgender, transsexual or in the process of transitioning in order to request these options. Passengers can also request that their physical search be conducted in a private room. Those who choose this option may bring a witness to their choice of gender. A witness for the screening officer will also be present (another screening officer or an independent third-party witness such as an airline representative). You may request that this witness be male or female. 

A transgender person, from the video Transgender Traveler4, who does not identify as Métis but as a visible minority, discusses their experience of being treated as if they are no longer human. They questioned, if their life [due to their race] is not respected, why their body would be respected.  

There is a lack of resources, data, and reported cases that build an understanding of Métis citizens who are part of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. We know within the Métis citizenry there is a vast diversity in gender identities, the lack of will to build a body of evidence regarding Métis trans rights and awareness contributes to silencing these diverse identities. This silencing is not something we can accept; transgender rights and awareness need to be normalized. 

 The National Inquiry’s Final Report on MMIWG2S+ outlines Calls for Justice to address 2SLGBTQQIA+: 

18.1 We call upon all governments and service providers to fund and support greater awareness of 2SLGBTQQIA issues, and to implement programs, services, and practical supports for 2SLGBTQQIA people that include distinctions-based approaches that take into account the unique challenges to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals and groups.18.4 We call upon all governments, service providers, and those involved in research to modify data collection methods to: 

  1. Increase accurate, comprehensive statistical data on 2SLGBTQQIA individuals, especially to record the experiences of trans-identified individuals and individuals with non-binary gender identities. 
  1. Eliminate “either-or” gender options and include gender-inclusive, gender neutral, or non-binary options – for example, an “X-option” – on reporting gender in all contexts, such as application and intake forms, surveys, Status cards, census data and other data collection. 
  1. Increase precision in data collection to recognize and capture the diversity of 2SLGBTQQIA communities: for example, the experiences of Two-Spirit women/ lesbians, and differentiations between Two-Spirit and trans identified individuals and between trans-masculine and trans-feminine experiences. 

18.13 We call upon all police services to engage in education regarding 2SLGBTQQIA people and experiences to address discrimination, especially homophobia and transphobia, in policing. 

 
Visit Trans Rights BC, and Egale for more information on transgender rights and the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ for access to the full report and 231 Calls for Justice. 
 
Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 
 
For inquiries, contact the Ministry of Youth metisyouthbc@mnbc.ca 
 
Or Ministry of Women & Gender Equity mowge@mnbc.ca 


Day 2 Policing and correctional services – Sunday, November 14, 2021 
 
Policing Métis Identity 
 
The historical establishment of the North-West Mounted Police, now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), was established to reinforce the exploitation of Indigenous land and the erasure of Indigenous people.   

Rupert’s Land was under the monopoly of the Hudson’s Bay Company until 1870, when the land was fraudulently purchased by the Dominion of Canada but was still largely under the control of Indigenous peoples.  In 1869, during the Red River Resistance, Métis and First Nations attempted to stop the land transfer by occupying Fort Garry and building a provisional government. The British and Canadian military was sent to Rupert’s Land in response to this resistance.1 
 
By 1870, the assimilation of Métis peoples began with the forfeiture of their land rights and issuing scrip by the government.2  In 1873, the North-West Mounted Police was established by Prime Minister John A. McDonald to control and police Indigenous peoples who inhabited Rupert’s Land. Their role was to enforce further the colonial rule of capitalism, patriarchy and the gender-binary, furthering the cultural genocide of First Nations and Métis peoples of the North-West.3 
 
Policing Queer Identity 
 
2SLGBTQQIA+ suffered discrimination and violence at the hands of the criminal justice system as homosexuality was a criminal offence. In 1969, the Criminal Code was amended to decriminalize homosexuality. Still, it wasn’t until 1996 that an amendment to the Human Rights Act included sexual orientation on the list of protected grounds or characteristics that are protected from discrimination within the Human Rights Act.   

Although sexual orientation was added to the list of protected grounds, it wasn’t until 2017 that Bill C-16 passed. Thus, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code were amended to protect “individuals from discrimination within the sphere of federal jurisdiction, as well as protecting against hate propaganda and hate crimes, on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.” Correctional Services Canada also made interim changes to their policies to reflect Bill C-16.4 

The following are some of the changes in policy: 

  • The right to wear clothes and makeup as related to gender identity. 
  • The right to order personal care products (such as deodorant) that correspond with gender identity. 
  • The right to be addressed by chosen name and pronouns. 
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect. The right to be free from verbal harassment or violence. 
  • As well as the right to access cultural practices, ceremony and consultations with Elders and spiritual advisors.5 

Although changes have been made to policies there is still much work to be done to eliminate violence against Indigenous transgender people within the criminal justice system. 
 
Due to the erasure of Métis identity between the years 1885-1982 there is little data on the violence and discrimination of Métis peoples or the experiences of transgender Métis peoples within the institution of policing. 
 
In 2019, Trans PULSE Canada surveyed 2873 transgender and non-binary people, 73% of racialized participants feared police harassment compared to 50% of non-racialized participants. These numbers may reflect the intersectionality between being visibly racialized and visibly gender non-conforming. One quarter of the racialized trans participants stated that they actively avoided calling 911 for emergency services within the five years prior to participation in the  survey.6
 
The National Inquiry’s Final Report on MMIWG2S+ outlines Calls for Justice to address harm within Canada’s criminal justice system, the following are only a small sample: 
 
9.1 We call upon all police services and justice system actors to acknowledge that the historical and current relationship between Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and the justice system has been largely defined by colonialism, racism, bias, discrimination, and fundamental cultural and societal differences. We further call upon all police services and justice system actors to acknowledge that, going forward, this relationship must be based on respect and understanding, and must be led by, and in partnerships with, Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.   
 
18.12 We call upon all police services to better investigate crimes against 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and ensure accountability for investigations and handling of cases involving 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.   
 
18.13 We call upon all police services to engage in education regarding 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and experiences to address discrimination, especially homophobia and transphobia, in policing. 
 
18.14 We call upon all police services to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in the sex industry.   
 
18.21 We call upon federal and provincial correctional services to engage in campaigns to build awareness of the dangers of misgendering in correctional systems and facilities and to ensure that the rights of trans people are protected. 

 
Visit Trans BC Rights for more information on transgender rights within the police and prison system and the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ for access to the full report and 231 Calls for Justice. 
 
Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 
 
For inquiries, contact Ministry of Women & Gender Equity mowge@mnbc.ca 

Or Ministry of Youth metisyouthbc@mnbc.ca


Day 1 – Healthcare – Saturday, November 13, 2021 
 
A study from Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Center (SARAVYC) at UBC, interviewed 337 transgender Canadians; 215 BC residents were among those interviewed. This study concluded that many people seeking gender-affirming surgery faced many barriers and long wait times to accessible healthcare. 60% of the participants reported having to travel two or more hours as there are limited locations in Canada that offer gender-affirming surgeries. Limited access to locations that perform gender-affirming surgeries creates a higher risk of post-surgery complications. Many people also faced challenges finding necessary support and knowledgeable health care providers for post-surgical care.1 Eliminating barriers to gender-affirming care and surgeries as well as spaces of belonging is an integral component in ensuring the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of transgender people.2  

The following are some transgender rights within healthcare:

  • The right to access healthcare services without discrimination and harassment. Physicians must not discriminate based on gender identity or gender expression when providing medical services.  
  • The right to be addressed by chosen name and pronouns  
  • The right to be given the same opportunities as the general public to participate in healthcare programs and to be admitted to healthcare facilities.  
  • The right to wait times that are no longer than the wait times cisgender people experience for a medically comparable procedure.  

In 2019, Trans PULSE Canada surveyed 2873 transgender and non-binary people over 14 years of age, approximately every 1 out of 10 people identified as Indigenous. 21% of the participants did not have a primary health care provider, and 45% of participants had unmet healthcare needs during the year before the survey.   

The data also indicated that 12% of participants avoided receiving emergency care within the year before the survey.3 This means that although policies have been put in place to support and protect transgender people within the healthcare system, there is still work to be done to ensure safe, inclusive, affirming and equitable access to healthcare.  

The National Inquiry’s Final Report on MMIWG2S+ outlines Calls for Justice to address harm within Canada’s healthcare system, the following are only a small sample:  
 
18.26 We call upon health service providers to educate their members about the realities and needs of 2SLGBTQQIA people, and to recognize substantive human rights dimensions to health services for 2SLGBTQQIA people.  

18.27 We call upon health service providers to provide mental health supports for 2SLGBTQQIA people, including wraparound services that take into account particular barriers to safety for 2SLGBTQQIA people.  

18.28 We call upon all governments to fund and support, and service providers to deliver, expanded, dedicated health services for 2SLGBTQQIA individuals including health centres, substance use treatment programs, and mental health services and resources.  

18.29 We call upon all governments and health service providers to create roles for Indigenous care workers who would hold the same authority as community mental health nurses and social workers in terms of advocating for 2SLGBTQQIA clients and testifying in court as recognized professionals.  

18.30 We call upon federal, provincial, and territorial governments and health service providers to reduce wait times for sex-reassignment surgery.  

18.31 We call upon all governments and health service providers to provide education for youth about 2SLGBTQQIA health. 

18.5 We call upon all governments and service providers to ensure that all programs and services have 2SLGBTQQIA front-line staff and management, that 2SLGBTQQIA people are provided with culturally specific support services, and that programs and spaces are co-designed to meet the needs of 2SLGBTQQIA clients in their communities.   
 
Visit Trans Care BC for more information on gender-affirming health and wellness supports, and Trans Rights BC for more information on rights withing the healthcare system. 
 
Trans Lifeline Toll-Free Number 1-877-330-6366 
Métis Crisis line at 1-833-Metis-BC (1-833-638-4722) 
 
For inquiries, contact Ministry of Health health@mnbc.ca or mentalhealth@mnbc.ca 

Or Ministry of Women and Gender Equity mowge@mnbc.ca