This month Alberta has taken a huge step in its support of transgender health. As of February, the Gender Health Program at the University of Alberta has opened, the first clinic in the Prairie Provinces.
Transgender youth have a place to go to start their journey.
The goal of the clinic is to ‘to transform health care for transgender Albertans and aims to reduce wait times and improve access to medical treatments.’
All of these have been huge issues in Alberta, especially for youth.
Previously a clinic based out of the Alberta Children’s Hospital was the only specialized clinic called the Metta Clinic. It was only open one half day a month, with a waitlist of up to three years.
Dr. Ted Jablonski from Calgary said in an interview with CBC news that young people were suffering because of this and the consequences of waiting could be horrific including substance abuse, mental health challenges and even suicide attempts.
A study of Alberta’s transgender youth last year found some troubling statistics:
· 75 percent of youth under 18 felt discriminated against
· 73 per cent said they had self-harmed
· 67 per cent said they had seriously considered suicide
· 41 per cent had made at least one attempt
· 80 per cent said their family didn’t understand them
· 62 per cent don’t access mental health services (92 per cent of those did not want their family to find out)
· 75 per cent felt very uncomfortable discussing trans-specific health care need with doctors
These statistics are shocking and need to make Albertan’s stop and think about how our province treats this population.
Transgender individuals need to be treated fairly in the workplace as well. Teamsters 362 is committed to making sure all members, including those in the LGBTQ2S community, are treated with respect in the workplace.
Employers must also take steps in the workplace by developing company-wide policies that promote inclusion, educate employees about how to support LGBTQ2S employees that they work with and implement anti-discrimination and harassment policies.
Together we can change these statistics and this new clinic is a huge step.