This profile series offers three perspectives from the PHSA community about their efforts to address past struggles and ongoing challenges faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community. he third and final profile features Jade Walters, partner at Trans Care BC. Read part 1 of the series to learn about Vancouver Pride and to hear from Dr. Daniel Metzger, an endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital, and part 2 of the series to learn from Clara Langlois, part of Trans Care BC's extended network.
Jade Walters is a trans, feminine person living in Kelowna, B.C. who organizes and runs a peer support group called the Okanagan Gender Identity Group
. She began medically transitioning about five years ago and created this group out of the difficulty she experienced when looking for care providers who understood her needs.
“My common experience was that I would find a doctor who was semi-willing, but it typically was my experience that I had to teach them about transition in order to access anything,” Jade says. Because options are so limited and knowledgeable care providers are so few and far between, Jade believes that trans patients have had to become their own advocates in order to receive the care they need.
“I think this is important with regards to the medical landscape in the Okanagan,” Jade says. “I have multiple trans friends who have university-level knowledge of trans care and the exact medicine that they need to access, specifically because they have had to advocate for themselves to their doctors in order to get it.”
In addressing the issues facing her community, Jade says there needs to be community resources and pooled knowledge - which is something that the Okanagan Gender Identity Group helps to provide.
“The thing that I keep finding myself coming back to, particularly in these small towns, is that it's really hard to organize and advocate for change in your area when you're doing it by yourself. When you have a lot of people saying that this is something that we need, suddenly people start to listen a little bit more.”
Although challenges related to accessing trans health care continue to exist, we can do our part to create a welcoming and positive space for all 2SLGBTQIA+ people at PHSA. If you have a few spare moments during Vancouver Pride weekend and the B.C. Day long weekend, please take some time to reflect on what you can do to learn more about and better support 2SLGBTQIA+ colleagues, patients, community and family members.
To begin, you can check out the following PHSA resources:
Always feel free to reach out to the Trans Care BC team at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, and for more information.