Published in the Fall 2012 issue • In web :: Features
Sexual healthcare for youth needs a revamp
Comprehensive sexual health services are our right, but LGBT2QI youth face numerous obstacles.
Continued from page 4
Progress often demands a degree of patience. However, when it comes to the sexual and emotional health of trans youth these calls for patience belie the urgency of this situation. Change is needed right now. What these calls for patience do reveal is a privileged position afforded to administrators, policy makers, and practitioners far removed from these communities.
As Sarah puts it, “the sexual and reproductive health needs of trans youth are not being met with enough vigor.” The slow rate at which change is occurring is unacceptable. While those outside of the LGBTQ2I community—particularly individuals who identify as white, middle-class, able bodied, cis gendered and live in urban centres—continue to reap the benefits of Canada’s supposed commitment to accessible, affordable, and equitable health care, trans folks are getting sick and do not feel safe to seek the medical attention that they are entitled to. Doctors have a responsibility to provide proper care for every person who walks through their doors, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Unfamiliarity with transsexuality is an inexcusable reason for turning a patient away. “Let’s be real, we live in 2012,” says Morgan. “You can turn on the TV now and see Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars. So it’s not as though most people in North America can claim to not know that we exist. Now it’s just about filling in the gaps of knowledge.”
In order to foster more awareness and inclusive medical practices, training and education on the health needs specific to trans folks should be made mandatory for every health care provider and incorporated into high school health curriculums. For the benefit of all youth, there needs to be a revamp of sexual health care throughout Canada. For the trans community in particular, this is urgently necessary
Namaste, Vivane. Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.