Saturday, October 11, 2008

Inherant Discrimination Within Policy

The Commissioner’s Directive 800 policy number 36, a policy which speaks to the rights of transgender individuals in the Canadian jail system, is inherently discriminatory. The wording of this particular policy assumes a level playing field within our society, although the field, in actuality, is quite bumpy. The Policy uses words like "gender identity specialist", as if this type of specialist is readily accessible to the transgender community. I will show how transphobia, immigration status and language are all aspects of that bumpy playing field that result in the unavailability of healthcare. This lack of access to healthcare provides the necessary evidence in order to render this policy 36 discriminatory.
Transphobia is a major barrier in terms of accessing healthcare for the transgender individual. Often there are encounters with transphobic doctors who will refuse treatment outright to the transgender individual. Another way transphobia is manifested within the medical field is when doctors try to "cure" the transgendered person. Transgendered people are sometimes viewed as "ill" by transphobic doctors and then the doctor attempts to treat the "illness", rather than initiate steps towards sexual reassignment.
Immigration status is also a major problem when trying to access healthcare. Even if the transgendered individual were lucky enough to see a doctor who was willing to provide treatment, the lack of a healthcard would make the cost of these treatments and procedures tremendous. Furthermore, if this individual were emigrating from a non-English speaking country, there would be further costs endured in order to hire a translator to convey their needs to the doctor.
This policy requires an individual to gain access to the Canadian Healthcare system. But, as you can see this access is often very restricted for the transgendered individual. It is obvious that the nature of this policy is discriminating to transgendered individuals; the very individuals that it should seek to protect. The life test is the next term that is imposed on the transgender individual. Imposed by the same oppressive policy writers that create these discriminatory barriers to healthcare.
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