CommunityPam's House Blend

Canadian Study On Trans Discrimination

The Winnipeg Free Press reported on a small scale study on the experiences of transgender people in an article entitled Transgendered community faces abuse, discrimination: survey. Here’s an excerpt:

A Winnipeg researcher who conducted a first-of-its-kind report on about 70 transgendered Manitobans paints a portrait of a community racked by higher rates of self-reported depression and sexually transmitted diseases.

However, Nine Circles Community Health Centre project coordinator Jennifer Davis is careful to point out it’s not all grim news for people who live outside traditional gender norms.

“I was surprised by the volume of discrimination and amount of discrimination, and some of the ways people are discriminated against,” said Davis.

“(Respondents) were talking about the abuse, and being kicked out of homes, and not fitting in at school and dropping out, and getting into drugs, and not having work, being beaten up, and knowing people that have been killed, it goes on and on and on. But these people are still moving forward, they’re still wanting to be committed citizens.”

The year-long research project released Monday recommends the province establish a health centre specifically designed to meet the needs of men or women who begin life as one sex, then later reject social expectations of their gender through methods like cross-dressing or sexual reassignment surgery.

Transgendered people still face major hurdles in everyday life, said Davis, particularly a lack of specialized health care.

Most respondents to the survey live in poverty or near poverty, and expressed a lack of access to mental and physical health services specific to their needs.

Davis estimated only about 15 per cent to 20 per cent of people who identify as transgendered seek sexual reassignment surgery, which is not currently available in Manitoba.

She said respondents to the survey indicated that they face serious health risks, with 21 per cent with sexually transmited infections and 8 per cent with known HIV/AIDS. About 28 per cent of respondents said they’d attempted suicide at least once, said Davis, a rate much higher than that of the general population.

The article continues with multiple paragraphs on how harrowing it is for many transpeople to use public restrooms.

It’s a small scale study for sure, but the experiences of transpeople that the study highlights ring true to me — I’ve heard a lot of these stories from my transgender peers.

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