To whom it may concern
I am a woman who was Assigned Male At Birth (AMAB); as such I have masculine traits leading to many psychologically damaging effects. I, like many other people in the Trans community, know what it is like to be harassed in various ways.
FIT for Active Living works with SGI to find the best options for recovery and continued care. The Trans Broken Arm Syndrome is the phenomenon of health professionals enquiring about someone’s life history before considering the reason the person is there, I have attached a brief write up on it to this open letter. Everyone in the Trans community has gone through an invasive interview in one way or another about them being Trans, which does not excuse anyone from asking these questions.
Due to a motor vehicle collision that happened in 2000 I am permanently disabled. My disability relates to an acquired brain injury, partial left side paralysis, and back problems. SGI recently had me go through the FIT for Active Living program which consisted of me seeing five professionals: A physiotherapist, who asked the innocent question of how long have I known; A Occupational Therapist, who told me how other people should act if they are some form of Trans; A chiropractor, who asked me how long it took me to learn walk like a woman; These questions are not appropriate; however they are not uncommon. I also saw; A psychologist who very briefly touched on the fact that I am Trans. An exercise therapist, who only mentioned it because I brought it up trying to get a head of any insults.
The medical Doctor however was really invasive, asking about my genitals. I went in to the office. I sat down. The doctor asked what surgeries I have had. Thinking they were talking about surgeries related to the reason I was there I listed those surgeries off. The doctor said “No, no, more recently?” Knowing exactly what they were talking about and knowing how inappropriate this questioning is, trying to laugh it off, I told them “I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 18 or 19.” The doctor then told me that they could not see a scar from a trachea shave. Feeling a little uncomfortable I made the joke of needing to lose my second chin before I worried about my Adam’s Apple. The doctor furthered this inappropriate questioning by asking me if I had breast implants or bra inserts. As I was now getting really uncomfortable I firmly said “No!” This doctor went on about if I had received Gender Reassignment Surgery. As I was really not wanting to get to deep into it but still give some education I explained why I did not like the term Gender Reassignment Surgery and said that no I have not. These questions had nothing to do with why I was there; however this doctor felt it was ok to violate my sexual privacy.
Making a complaint to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission I received a letter in short saying that the doctor was fine asking about my genitals as it may play into their findings. If it was really important why was the doctor the only one to ask me? When someone in the cis community is interrogated about their genitals it would be sexual harassment; why is it different for people in the Trans community.
After additional information was sent in during the 14 day period; I have yet to hear back from the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission looking for further clarification. I am lead to believe that the Commission does not see me as a valid person protected under the Human Rights Code of Saskatchewan. I fear that this bias will damage more individuals in the Trans and Genderqueer communities if not addressed.
I am reaching out to the MLA’s of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, FIT for Active Living, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, SGI, some of the queer support agencies in Saskatchewan, the Trans specific agencies of Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Health, and news outlets in Saskatchewan to help ensure that this does not happen to future individuals in the Trans community.
I use the pronouns she/her