What steps is Health Services taking to become more welcoming to LGBTQ students?
Dalhousie Student Health Services has always tried to create a safe and comfortable environment for everyone using our services, including those of the Rainbow community. When you access our services, we hope that you will feel sure that your confidentiality is maintained in a warm and accepting atmosphere and that we are knowledgeable about and accepting of the many ways in which sexual preference and gender identity might impact your health and well being.
In recent months we have been developing new skills and services specifically developed for the Trans community. This ongoing work includes:
- Training for medical providers and staff, including the ability to initiate and maintain cross-hormone therapy (letter of readiness not needed) and provide letters of readiness for gender reaffirming surgery (this includes the letter required from a family doctor only). The assessments will be completed by our Social Worker Hazel Ling in conjunction with Dr. Andrea or Dr. Mallory. Dr. Andrea and Dr. Mallory can prescribe appropriate medication following completion of the assessment and provide referrals for surgery.
- The identification of specific medical providers who are working on developing expertise in trans health issues and who have expressed a particular interest in working with trans students.
- Training for medical assistants and schedulers
- A comprehensive review of our services, including paperwork, signs and posters in the building, and the Health Services and Health Promotion websites, to identify areas for improvement.
Tips for your visit to Student Health Services
- Prepare for your visit: Health professionals will personalize their assessment based on their abilities and their knowledge of you. Common topics you will talk about include medical history (both physical and mental), alcohol and drug involvement, smoking, family and social relationships, sexual orientation and practices, economic considerations and gender concerns, and body parts and symptoms (specific to the reason you are coming into the clinic)
- Come with written questions: While all of our clinicians receive are informed around inclusive health care, it is important to choose a clinician you feel comfortable with and try to make all appointments with this provider
- Talk open and honestly with the health care providers and staff about your identity, and if someone miss-identifies you, please correct them. We don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. It is ok to say “My preferred name is____” or I prefer to be referred to as ”She/he/ze, etc”
- Keep your medical records (lab work or other tests and procedures, medications, immunizations, a record of all the health clinics you go to in case you have to contact them in the future, etc.)
- Give us feedback! We encourage you to email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Nova Scotia Legislation
For several years sexual orientation has been included in the human rights legislation. In recent years, it has been expanded to include Trans related concerns.
In December 2012, Nova Scotia revised its Human Rights Act to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” as prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment.
On April 1st, 2014, the Department of Health and Wellness announced that it will grant coverage to trans-identified patients for 8 types of surgeries. They include: mastectomy, oophorectomy, hysterectomy, penectomy, orchiectomy, phalloplasty, metoitioplasty and vaginoplasty. However, these surgeries are not performed within Nova Scotia, and will require travel to other clinics.
Nova Scotians would be allowed to display on their birth certificate the gender they identify with, regardless of whether they had sex reassignment surgery, under legislation introduced April 8, 2015.
Amendments to the Vital Statistics Act include:
- eliminating the requirement for sex reassignment surgery to change the sex designation on a birth certificate
- requiring a self-declaration from the applicant stating that they have assumed, identify with, and intend to live in a gender identity that corresponds with the desired sex designation
- requiring a letter of support from a person with a professional designation as defined in regulation (like a doctor, nurse, social worker or psychologist)
- requiring minors under 16 to have parental consent. The letter of support must be from a doctor or psychologist that has treated or evaluated the applicant and must include a professional opinion that the minor is able to understand the impact of the decision.
- Pride Health (Capital Health)
- The Youth Project
- Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project
- Nova Scotia Legislature Bill No. 140: Transgendered Persons Protection Act