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Transsexual and transgender women denied access to shelters as temperatures drop in Montréal

ASTT(e)Q urges Québec shelters to change discriminatory practices

25 January, 2013 - As temperatures drop to extreme lows, transsexual and transgender women in Montréal continue to be turned away from many homeless women’s shelters. Over the past week of bitter cold, ASTT(e)Q, a local trans health project of CACTUS Montréal, has witnessed several of our members be denied shelter on the grounds of being trans. While such refusals are frequently justified by administrative regulations, members of ASTT(e)Q believe that these exclusive practices are rooted in discriminatory attitudes towards trans people.

A majority of women’s shelters throughout Québec require trans people to have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and/or to have changed their legal sex. “Such requirements are unattainable for most homeless trans people, due to prohibitive costs, and extensive administrative requirements,” says Mirha-Soleil Ross, staff of ASTT(e)Q. “Trans women are left with no alternatives, as men’s shelters are clearly not an option. With no place to turn, homeless trans women find themselves on the streets, which in -30 below temperatures is nothing short of deadly.”

“Just this week, a trans woman who had her surgery months ago was refused access to a woman’s shelter because she didn’t have an ‘F’ on her identity documents! While we believe trans people should have access to shelter and housing regardless of surgical status, this is a clear case of discrimination disguised as administrative regulations,” continues Ross.

“We are currently seeing many important legal and social advances for trans people, including in neighbouring Ontario where one can change their legal sex regardless of surgical status,” says Nora Butler Burke, coordinator of ASTT(e)Q. “In Québec, trans people have been relentlessly educating intervention workers and calling for shelters to address the exclusion of homeless trans people for decades. Yet shelters continue to refuse trans people based on the outdated policies of the Québec Department of Civil Status.”

In the context of life threatening temperatures, ASTT(e)Q urges all shelters to immediately remove barriers to admission for trans people based on the legal documentation in their possession and/or their surgical status. More broadly, we advocate for access to shelters, as well as other gender specific services, to be available according to one’s social identity rather than according to their legal or surgical status. We encourage organizations across Québec to work in collaboration with trans community groups to ensure that trans people are no longer denied access.

About ASTT(e)Q (Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec)

ASTT(e)Q aims to promote the health and well-being of trans people through peer support and advocacy, education and outreach, and community empowerment and mobilization. We understand the health of trans people and our communities to be interrelated to economic and social inequalities, which have resulted in trans people experiencing disproportionate rates of poverty, un(der)employment, precarious housing, criminalization and violence. We believe in the right to self-determine our gender identity and gender expression free from coercion, violence and discrimination. We advocate for access to health care that will meet the many needs of our diverse communities, while working collectively to build supportive, healthy and resilient communities.

For interviews: Nora Butler Burke at 514-347-9462
For terms, definitions and additional information about trans people:

ASTT(e)Q : Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec
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  20. afrosamurai-1 reblogged this from seriouslyamerica and added:
    I listend to the head of Salvation Army lie about how inclusive of the LGBT community his organization is. Lies…
  21. kawaiiwishing reblogged this from jadepichette
  22. delotha reblogged this from awesomesock
  23. sentientcitizen reblogged this from learntocheat
  24. awesomesock reblogged this from myresin and added:
    Oh hell no, not in my country.
  25. myresin reblogged this from magicmage
  26. magicmage reblogged this from seriouslyamerica and added:
    Fuck Quebec. : | Do you wonder why we all call you the ass of Canada? Jesus.
  27. domobird reblogged this from transawareness
  28. rareandradiantmaiden reblogged this from seriouslyamerica and added:
    what the fuck, this is horrific
  29. trashprincesss reblogged this from destroyedforcomfort
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  31. tenderflesh reblogged this from projectqueer
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  36. thewriterchick reblogged this from librarianarchy and added:
    to be fair montreal is all the french people and we don’t understand them Sorry that’s the gut reaction of anyone west...