It's has been over a year since my last post and there has been a lot going on to say the least! I will be posting more about things that have been ongoing and give you an update on my moustache because I know that's really why you keep hanging around ;)
After the disaster with my passport and the other disaster with my health care card I finally got sick of being treated badly by governments and their agencies. I filed human rights complaints with both the NWT Human Rights Commission and with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in the hopes of changing policies that would allow trans people to self identify and not be required to change their birth certificate or provide proof that they modified their body with surgery to conform to an established gender binary.
Even though I have a new health card and my gender marker has been changed on my permanent health record I am still afraid when I go to the clinic or hospital that I will be outed and treated like and HIV patient in 1991. I Still have anxiety about getting my blood taken and have avoided going to the hospital, particularly the emergency room for fear that my bad experiences will be repeated.
Thank goodness there have been pioneers who have broken ground and created case law that inform and help us make cases for ourselves. I have some really good friends and the ability to do research both of which were important in being able to settle the complaints through mediation.
Oftentimes to get to this point you have to be brave enough to file the complaint. Sometimes governments won't or can't change anything without a court order, or a process that allows them to create change, such as a human rights complaint. It can be scary to take that first step. You will feel vulnerable, but hopefully at the end of the process you will have some sort of reconciliation.
I am glad that my case did not go to to a hearing. Sadly a lot of processes are adversarial, often due to (but not always) due to lawyers who are trained that way. I did not have to prepare to navigate a legal system unrepresented nor did I have to worry about my identity, my story or my case being aired in public as some titillating piece of small town gossip. I am thankful that the parties on both sides of my case worked together to solve the problems, and did not feel the need to lay blame or make excuses. This approach allowed everyone to tackle the problem instead of each other. Win-Win.
I was extremely lucky that the respondents in my cases were willing to mediate and my experience was very positive. I know that isn't the case for everyone but I am happy to have been able to make a positive change in a positive, thoughtful and conscientious manner. I actually have an ongoing relationship with some of the parties and am a valued resource when it comes to gathering "user-experience". I cannot describe how grateful I am that things went well and that real positive changes are being made to the system which will improve it for everyone.
Here's hoping the small changes will lead to improved services and experiences for trans people!