Saturday, October 11, 2008

Policy Impacting the Individual

It is easy to graze the surface, in a theoretical manner, about how Commissioner’s Directive 800 number 36 is discriminatory to transgendered individuals, but to really understand the effects of these policies it is necessary to grasp the impacts on the individual. As I have previously shown, transphobia, immigration status and language are all barriers to the healthcare system for transgendered individuals. I will go on to exemplify the specific impacts that these roadblocks have on the individuals in the transgender community, and portray the way in which we limit healthcare in an systematic manner.
Transphobic doctors have been known to refuse treatment to transgendered individuals. This refusal often leaves transgendered people with very few options if they would like to start on their road to sex reassignment. This lack of accessible healthcare may lead some transgendered folks to seek access to hormones on the street. The danger in terms of dosage and access to clean needles is tremendous. This phenomenon, of refusal of health care, is putting an entire community at risk.
Another way that transphobia is manifested in doctors is when they use their position of power to diagnose the transgendered individual as "ill" and try to "treat" the person. Not only is this unethical, but also, labeling this person as "ill" can make the transgendered person feel that there is something wrong with their feelings. This can in turn make the transgendered person focus on their "illness" rather than on their sex reassignment plans. Oftentimes non-Canadian transgendered people flee to Canada in search of a liberal society that will assist them on their sex reassignment journey. With no status, and often little money, our oppressive society often leaves these transgendered individuals with little way to make money outside of the sex work industry. Not only are these surgeries very costly, but also if this person were emigrating from non-English speaking country, expensive translators would be necessary.
Here we have been able to personalize the myriad ways in which Commissioners directive 800 number 36 directly impacts the lives of the people in the transgender community. Society systematically limits access to healthcare, and then writes and imposes these policies as if they are somehow attainable to the folks they purport to serve. The policy investigated would be blameless if we were serving a population of all upper class white Canadian men. Although, as shown this is not the case. Canadian society limits access to healthcare to certain marginalized groups, and as a result we can not apply policy to heterogeneous populations as if they were not so.
For information on transgender health needs please visit-

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