Implement the Government of Yukon’s LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion Action Plan, to ensure that people have access to public services free of discrimination, harassment, or violence, particularly in the area of healthcare and social services.
What is the challenge?
The Government of Yukon’ LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion Action Plan has seen only marginal progress since its publication in July 2021. We would like to see the Government of Yukon commit fully to its implementation across all sectors as there are still notable gaps in the accessibility of services and supports. One of the largest gaps having a direct and immediate impact on 2SLGBTQQIA+ Yukoners is in access to healthcare and social services. While the government committed to improving access and clearly communicating about affirming healthcare for Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary and intersex people, in reality access to that care has been plagued with delays and lack of communication.
The LGBTQ2S+Inclusion Action Plan also includes commitments on improving health information aimed at the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, providing ‘cultural competency’ training to medical professionals, and improving access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals and families. However, Yukon government still hasn’t delivered on its year one commitments in these areas, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people regularly experience inappropriate comments from medical professionals, have their concerns dismissed, and find themselves in the position of having to educate their medical providers rather than having competent care. At the same time, organizations providing mental health and sexual/reproductive health supports to 2SLGBTQQIA+ community members are critically underfunded and facing closures.
Denial of access to healthcare, misgendering, and harassment based on gender or sexual orientation are all forms of gender-based violence. In addition, distrust of medical services makes it harder for people to seek help when facing other forms of violence.
- 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are more likely than the general population to be chronically ill or disabled, and queer and trans BIPOC even more so. Disabled and chronically ill 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are particularly vulnerable to abuse by caretakers, and widespread access to safe and affirming care is vitally important.
- Trans people in particular experience a number of barriers, including providers’ lack of knowledge about trans issues, denial of care altogether, and refusal to approve gender affirming care. Challenges in access to trans competent and affirming health care and mental health services leads to a high prevalence of adverse health outcomes.
- A national study found that 21% of trans people reported avoiding the emergency department when they needed it.
- The Yukon has the second highest proportion of Trans & Non-Binary people in the country.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN:
The physical and mental health of 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is at a crisis point and action needs to be taken now. The Government of Yukon needs to be accountable for its promises to the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. Timelines and expectations for implementation need to be communicated explicitly and followed up with action if goals are not met.
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
Call on the government to:
- Improve access to Two-Spirit, Trans, and Non-Binary affirming healthcare;
- Improve access to supportive mental health and wellness services for 2SLGBTQQIA+ Yukoners;
- Provide comprehensive, ongoing training for all medical and administrative personnel in the territory on supporting 2SLGBTQQIA+ patients, with clear pathways for redress if patients experience discrimination or inappropriate behaviour;
- Immediately remedy medical staffing shortages across the territory, particularly in rural communities, and ensure staff in all communities are competent to support 2SLGBTQQIA+ patients;
- Implement Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policies and encourage schools to support gender and sexuality alliances (GSAs) or similar clubs; and,
- Commit to timelines for implementation of the above, as well as the remaining action items in the LGBTQ2+ Inclusion Action Plan, and regularly report on progress toward achieving these goals.