Guide Contents

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to all those who are taking the time to read through this guide! For a provider, picking up a copy of this resource is a step towards fostering trans-positive services. Because this book has a wide audience (including physicians, mental health professionals, medical specialists, social workers, staff at frontline service organizations, etc.), you will have to choose which chapters and sections are most relevant to the work you do.

Trans people in Québec experience a multitude of barriers in accessing health care and social services. These barriers include but are not limited to disrespectful and invasive primary care, a scarcity of trans-specific health care services, stringent processes for changing legal documents to accurately reflect gender identity, and policies which limit access to gender-segregated facilities. As a health care or social service provider, you can expand on a broad and holistic understanding of health through engaging with trans clients and their needs. This document has been created as a tool to offer providers tangible and important information about trans health as well as an understanding that the needs of trans people within the health care and social service systems are as diverse and varied as its population. Taking Charge believes that making facets of trans people’s lives and realities visible is integral to providing relevant and respectful services for them.

This document was created within a harm-reduction framework and with a holistic understanding of health in mind. Taking Charge was initiated in an effort to create pertinent resources geared towards health care and social service providers, to break the isolation of allied professionals who work with trans people, and to dispel the misinformation that deters many health care and social service providers from working with trans people. The project also hopes that the information in this document will serve to develop and strengthen networks amongst frontline workers and community organizations to build a greater understanding of the needs and realities of trans people. As policies regarding access to services are often determined at the priovincial level, some of the information in this guide is specific to a Québec context. A lot of the guide’s content is, however, applicable elsewhere.

This guide is an initiative of Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec (ASTT(e)Q), a project of CACTUS-Montréal (Centre d’action communautaire auprès des toxicomanes utilisateurs de seringues), founded in 1998. ASTT(e)Q was started largely in response to concerns surrounding access to services that both accomodate and are sensitive to trans people’s needs; it grew out of a support group for trans women living with HIV. In the late 1990s, a needs assessment was conducted through CACTUS-Montréal to determine the shape and direction of ASTT(e)Q. The organization exists within the context of a rich history of activism, advocacy, and community organizing for improved access to health care and social services, housing, decent working conditions (in particular for sex workers), and HIV prevention. It strives, overall, to raise the quality of life of trans people in Québec.

A committee of over a dozen individuals steered the content of this guide. The committee is composed of trans people from different backgrounds and communities, as well as frontline workers, health care professionals, and social service providers who work with and advocate for trans people. This project is based on the understanding that trans people need to have meaningful input into resources regarding their own health needs, and the consultation process therefore privileged the voices of trans people. This project is based on the understanding that trans people must meaningfully contribute to their own health resources, and the consultation process therefore privileged trans voices.

We hope that this resource will serve to encourage and empower those working as health care and social service providers, as well as frontline workers, to effectively advocate for trans people’s needs within current systems.

Much of this document was built off of the Project Max Guide.

The content of this guide was determined by a group of countless dedicated volunteers.

This resource is available to reprint and distribute, though not to sell.

The production of this document has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official views of the Public Health Agency of Canada .