On this week’s episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Reid Lodge and Mable Wheeler. They are members of Fredericton Gender Minorities, which aims to support trans people, to create spaces for mutual aid and support, and to engage in educational community outreach; and of TransAction NB, a smaller group with a more explicitly activist orientiation that engages directly and politically with questions of government policy, barriers to health care and services, and more.
Transgender people are people whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth. The range of ways of experiencing, identifying, and living gender within that is enormously broad (including, for some people, ways that push beyond the rigid binary that structures dominant understandings of gender). Trans people often experience severe social stigma and are at heightened risk of interpersonal violence (especially trans women, especially trans women of colour). They face disproportionate poverty and barriers to accessing employment, housing, and other services, including health care services. In the health care context, barriers are experienced in accessing the gender confirmation surgey that can be an important part of transitioning for some trans people, but are also a factor in accessing general health care. As well, getting state-issued identification that correctly communicates their gender can be a tremendously difficult process, and not having such ID can put people at risk.
These things and more are true across the continent. But there is variation, and accoridng to Lodge and Wheeler, New Brunswick is one of the Canadian jursidictions with the most work still to do. The province does not even have a major non-profit that spans the entire LGBTQ acronym, let alone funded trans-specific services, so it can be incredibly difficult for trans people to find safe spaces, supportive professionals, or even other trans people to talk to. Also, New Brunswick has no human rights protection for trans people, and it is currently the only province that does not fund gender confirmation surgery through medicare.
On today’s show, Lodge and Wheeler talk with me about trans experiences in New Brunswick and about two different grassroots groups through which trans people in New Brunswick are organizing collectively to survive and thrive: Fredericton Gender Minorities and TransAction NB.
Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.
Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.