Yesterday SACHA’s Jia Qing and Lenore spoke at City Council about the need for a city-wide Transgender Protocol.
Here’s their presentation:
Good Morning, I’m Jia-Qing Wilson-Yang and this is Lenore Lukasik-Foss. We’re here today on behalf of the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area), also known as SACHA, to encourage City Council to support the Transgender Protocol. In my work on a provincial project on trans women and sexual violence, coordinating a Canada wide research project on trans women affected by HIV, and as a youth worker supporting trans youth; as well as in my life as a trans woman, living in community with other trans women, I can tell you that first steps like this protocol need to be supported by people like you.
There simply are not enough statistics about trans people, but thanks to Trans Pulse an Ontario based study, we know that 34% of trans women have been physically assaulted for being trans and that 98% of trans people have experienced transphobia* (Marcellin, 2012.) We know that across Canada, 70% percent of trans youth report having been sexually harassed.
Ontarians are protected from discrimination based on gender identity and expression, under the Ontario Human Rights Council. Many organizations and institutions are making moves to augment these protections by developing protocols like the one we are asking you to support. A protocol like this can be an important step to improving the lives of trans Hamiltonians, to know that they are supported by their city.
There are myths, based on discrimination, claim that women and children are in danger from trans women in bathrooms. They are lies: trans women and men face discrimination and sometimes physical violence when trying to access bathrooms, community services, healthcare….the list goes on. The gravity that something so basic as the use of a washroom is so hotly debated when trans people face astronomical rates of suicidality, homelessness, and poverty must be understood. Nationally, 1 in 3 trans youth having attempted suicide, 1 in 4 trans youth have run away from home, and 1 in 3 older youth can’t regularly afford food. Trans people are not using washrooms to assault children, we are managing the potential of violence, as we are in many arenas in our lives.
This protocol is a step in the right direction to ensure the safety and support of trans community members; but it cannot be the only step. We need people to bring protocols like this to life, to take action to make positive change. We urge Council to implement broad education initiatives for City staff and Council Members to ensure that our trans community members, and all gender non conforming folks, are fully included in our City.
*Marcellin, Roxanne Longman. Self-reported Racism, Transphobia, Their Intersection and Impact on Past-Year HIV-Related Sexual Behaviour Risk. School of Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies, The University of Western Ontario. London On., 2012.