2017 started in the closet but it didn’t end there, for that reason it will always be memorable to me.
There were a number of other notable things that happened in my world over the last 12 months. In a few instances, they impacted the broader trans community in Alberta and in some cases the whole country.
Annual ‘International Transgender Day of Visibility,’ took place. I also used that day to come out as transgender.
I took a day off work to drive 500km round trip from Peace River to Grande Prairie to see a psychiatrist for a diagnosis of ‘Gender Dysphoria.’ A step required by the Government of Alberta in order to access Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Bill C16 received royal assent and became law in Canada. This added gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds in the Canadian Human Rights Act, it also added them as designations under the Criminal Code’s hate crime provisions.
CBC Edmonton published an article about the increasing wait times for trans Albertans seeking HRT. On average trans Albertans are waiting more than a year to access HRT.
I managed to beat the provincial average and start HRT only 10 months after first talking to my doctor.
The results of the first-ever survey of transgender youth in Alberta, conducted by the University of Alberta, were released. It confirmed anecdotal evidence that trans youth (under 25) face threats to their safety and well being, as well as discrimination on an almost daily basis.
After a divisive debate, Bill 24 becomes law in Alberta. The bill protects the privacy of students who attend Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA). During the debate the newly formed United Conservative Party (UCP) made their debut in the Alberta Legislature, every sitting member voted against the bill.
My application to change my name was submitted to the local registry office. The agent at the office indicated that Alberta Vital Statistics is backed up and to expect a three to four-month wait. While this was disappointing to hear it’s not the end of the world, just another extended waiting period while a government agency processes stuff.
I also had a doctor’s appointment the same day, during which my doctor put together a plan to step me down off of my current anti-anxiety/depression medication. The doctor also wrote a letter, indicating they felt changing the sex designation on my birth registration would be in my best interest. I will need to submit that, along with a collection of other documents, to the Province of Ontario to change my birth certificate later in 2018, after the name change has been processed here in Alberta.
I’m not sure what 2018 holds from a legislative, or social perspective in Alberta or Canada. Many legislative hurdles have been cleared and the focus needs to be changing the attitudes, hearts, and minds, of people and improving services and processes. That’s the real challenge and long-term project.
During the next 12-months, at the minimum, I will be completing the process of changing my name and sex legally, and then there is a mountain of other documents that will need to be updated. 2018 will be a year of filling out paperwork for me…