Supporting Alberta’s Trans People

On October 20th Write Letters to our provincial government in Support of Alberta’s Trans People.

Many of us were shocked by the news in mid-Sept that:

1. Access to gender-affirming surgery has been made more difficult. Whereas in the past Albertans requiring top surgery needed the signature of a medical professional or a mental health professional; now all are required to have the signature of a psychiatrist. “Top surgery” refers to bilateral mastectomy and male chest reconstruction, procedures which along with hormone replacement therapy are standard care for transmasculine individuals. Psychiatrists with the requisite knowledge base are hard to find.

2. Dr. Michael Marshall, the head of the Gender Clinic at the University of Alberta has resigned due to the lack of consistent and sustained funding through Alberta Health. He could no longer continue with a patchwork of grants.

Some in our Affirming Network have been directly affected. Rev. Tim Nethercott's son Esme has spent years on the waiting list for gender-affirming surgery. (see https://globalnews.ca/news/5915272/alberta-transgender-surgery-rules-concerns/). Revs. Shannon Mang and Greg Wooley's adult child Dean has also found their access to surgery blocked by this development.

Please join us in a letter-writing campaign on Oct 20, 2019. This campaign was initiated by the Skipping Stone Foundation (https://www.skippingstone.ca/transhealth). We would like to bring the considerable power of the Affirming Network of Faith Communities to bear in a protest against this change in policy and in support of adequate funding for the Gender Clinic at the University of Alberta, and for Trans and Gender Diverse care in Alberta.

Steps to take:

1. Post the infographic on your personal and on your Faith Community’s social media to promote participation in the letter writing on-line. You may also want to print this infographic for your bulletin boards. Please encourage those who are able to send digital versions of the letter to the Minister of Health and to the additional list of persons provided.

2. Organize a "hard copy" letter writing event in your Faith Community on Sunday Oct. 20. Provide paper copies of the attached letter for people to sign and mail to The Honourable Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. Encourage participants to write a brief personal note in the space between the body of the letter and their signature.

Information on Skipping Stone Foundation's letter writing campaign is available at their website (https://www.skippingstone.ca/transhealth). The World Professional Association for Transgender Health's Standards of Care cited on Skipping Stone Foundation’s website is also available there.

Research shows that timely access to trans-affirming care saves lives!

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