I’m on my way back to Ottawa and thinking about how I will be moving forward. I had wanted to do some of this while on vacation, but got sick for a few days with a nasty cold that still isn’t fully gone.
For my education I will be enrolling at St. Paul’s University so that I can complete my undergrad degree and move forward on that path. Politically I will be reaching out to others in the community, try and find out what, if any, organization has already been done and move forward from there with that knowledge.
I will also be looking at getting involved with one of the major political parties, most likely NDP or Liberal. Green might be a possibility, but in our first past the post system there is no reasonable chance that they will be able to elect a member near where I live.
Some of the more pressing issues that I see are:
- Human rights legislation, both federally and provincially.
Bill C389 died in the Senate when the federal election was called and new legislation needs to be introduced in parliament.
Provincially, a bill to amend the Ontario Human Rights code is on the back burner. The city of Ottawa already has this in place as does Toronto.
- Access to care.
Currently there is one psychologist and one very part time psychiatrist in Ottawa. Many regions of the province do not have anyone who can provide care. The province of Ontario does fund SRS, but one has to go through CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) in Toronto. This can be difficult to impossible for people, travel to Toronto plus acommodation can be quite expensive, return trip by VIA Rail from Ottawa to Toronto, with early purchase is almost $160.
- Public education.
This is an ongoing struggle and is a continuous process. I educate whenever I can one-on-one and there are a number of people I know in Ottawa who are very actively working to educate, provide seminars at colleges and universities etc.
Transgender people still have problems with washroom access in many places – one friend in Texas was told she had to use the men’s room at work until she has full SRS. In other places people are being beaten up for using the washroom.
- Abuse, depression and suicide.
Many transgender people suffer from depression, are abused by partners and families, and a very high percentage seriously consider suicide and many take that step and do kill themselves. Support is needed to help these people move forward and live their lives to the fullest.
I’m sure there are many other areas I haven’t mentioned here. I will be continuing to update my blog as issues arise. I will also be expanding on these points in the days and weeks ahead.
I am always willing to chat with people who are genuinely interested in learning, or who are struggling with their own challenges. There is a link to my IRC Channel in the sidebar of the blog. If I’m not there or don’t respond try back, I’m usually on IRC when I’m online.