Restoring the Circle

I’m feeling grateful for the intentional and impactful space I shared with my colleagues at the 'Restoring the Circle: Trans Inclusion in Healthcare, Schools, and Social Services' Conference on June 3rd 2019. One of the quotes that stuck with me was something that Diane Ehrensaft, said: “it’s about stages, not ages”. This really resonated with me as an ‘elder-youth’, a term I’ve coined to describe the social location and extended adolescence of 2SQTBIPOC that come into their transness and queerness later in life (as opposed to cis, white, trans, binary, able-bodied, middle-upper class trans kids raised in supportive structures).

“It’s about stages, not ages” - Diane Ehrensaft (she/her)

In the second iteration of my workshop with RJ and Gitanjali, on the importance and impact of Community Consultations, we looked at the case study of the fictional case study subject ‘Kadeem’, and the supports and emotional labour that service providers and community members could provide him. Of course, always ask, act on and start with what the youth/community member wants, and their priorities. Standardizing in take processes for everyone regardless of their social locations is key (ex. asking pronouns even if you'd think someone was cis, asking access needs even if you think there's no way this individual is disabled).

"Remember to vet your resources before making referrals, like ensuring there are there Black Muslim staff on file who specialize in trauma informed care to support Kadeem" - RJ (he/they)

Remove barriers and do the emotional labour of investigating resources before making referrals. We discussed calling ahead, and ensuring there's Black, Indigenous and/or radicalized staff on file with the cultural background(s) necessary to understanding the youth in question's needs.

The group including Planned Parenthood Toronto staff brought up possible supports their organization could provide including: providing Kadeem with ASL via group therapy and other groups, providing supports around ID, and facilitating support around the housing/landlord issues. Connecting him with employment outreach workers in the City of Toronto, referral to the 519 ID clinic, outreach workers can meet family members, Skylark’s Nurse Practitioner(s) can assist with the transition resources/process

The group including Egale Youth Outreach (EYO) and Egale Youth Services (EYS) staff mentioned the being able to provide mental health support, crisis counselling, drop-in services, meals, case managers, support around IDs and advocacy, educate the family member (aunty)

Other suggestions that came up:

  • Youth Wellness Centre in Hamilton can provide mental health centred and family education services 
  • Covenant House can provide a Muslim case worker
  • Direct him to Landlord Tenant Board and adjacent online resources
  • Contact union reps if he’s beyond probationary period at work
  • Provide him with a list of easy-apply bursaries and grants based on his social locations
  • Assure him of his human rights and remind/inform him of the fact that there isn't an age of consent for trans youth to receive trans health care
  • Counsellors like Missy, offered assistance in strengthening the family relationship, depending on Kadeem’s needs of course

I look forward to seeing some of you again for the Trans Youth Symposium later this month on June 28 and 29 2019:

Restoring the Circle: Trans Youth Symposium

Date: June 28th and 29th

Time: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Place: Ryerson University

To register:

The aforementioned list only includes brainstorm session suggestions from workshop participants and are not verified or endorsed in any way. Please see a medical practitioner, case manager and/or drop-in centre for relevant info to your needs.

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