Saturday, November 24, 2012

My reaction to trans issues in NL House 11/20/2012

For the third year in a row, members of the Newfoundland NDP party asked the governing Conservatives to add Gender Identity and Gender Expression to the Human Rights Code. This year, not only did they ask via Question Period, but did so via signed petition - that contained over 400 signatures of NL citizens.  In addition, a speech was read to commemorate transgender day of remembrance - which included a thank you to the various organizations working on behalf of trans rights in NL. the presenter, Gerry Rogers - the first openly-lesbian elected to NL provincial public office, mentioned me specifically by name! I was the only person named individually by Gerry. Given that Gerry and I have not seen eye to eye on many things, I take this as a huge and sincere compliment.

While many of the local gay/lesbian organizations, who call themselves LGBT, failed this past year to even recognize that I exist nor engage me in my work(i will specifically reference Egale Canada, Pflag Canada, St. John's Pride Inc, LBGT-MUN, and Planned Parenthood NL), for Gerry to point this out, not only validates my work, but makes all these organizations looks stupid.

The good news, is that unlike most of these orgs, MUNSU and LBGT-MUN elect new boards every September - hence, a chance for a fresh start every year. I am excited to have just recently worked with these two entities on a TDOR event partnership.

Ultimately, the highlight of the day in the house was the answers given by the government to Gerry's two questions. Minister Darin King suggested that any trans person who has not felt justice has been served via Human Rights Commission process, should contact him directly to discuss. This is exactly what I will do, given that I was refused a Human Rights Inquiry hearing by the commission, regarding a complaint in filed against Newfoundland's public health insurance program - re transgender discrimination.

Furthermore, Rogers questioned the Minister of Health, Susan Sullivan, regarding the monopoly still held by Ontario's CAMH - in terms of approving NL funding for SRS. Sullivan essentially indicated that she knows there is work to do, and that she is open to meeting and taking advise from experts.

Now, the challenge for me, is to convince Sullivan that the expert advice needs to come from trans citizens, and not gay/lesbian organizations who are simply looking to build an empire.

Overall, my biggest disappointment was the lack of media attention paid to this. Not only were these historic questions asked in the house, the tabling of a petition for trans rights is also a first, as was a press release I sent out on the same morning, publishing the fact that for the first time, I as a trans person had won a job competition but was refused employment.

Oh well, now comes the continuing dilemma for me - do I continue to get involved? or go back to living my new life as a supposedly post-transitioned woman?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Until CAMH no longer holds the keys to the gate to funding for gender reassignment surgery, too many folks will be forced to make choices they would rather not make. What bugs me is that lots of folks who live less-than-healthy lifestyles have ready access to all sorts of free health services, yet trans folks still have to "prove" their need for free health services is justified. Please don't stop Jennifer.