May 22nd, 2020

This roundup contains updates from the May all-members meeting.

Trans Community Health is operating on its regular once-weekly schedule and has been successfully using phone visits since early April, with capacity now to see a limited number of patients in person. The clinic has a waitlist of about ten people. It’s not easy to translate that into an estimate of wait time for new patients to get a first appointment, because not everyone on the wait list will necessarily access the clinic and what each patient needs in terms of appointments and resources is different.

Introduce yourself to Courtney Fleming, the new administrative assistant who is answering the main line for Shelter Health Network and staffing the email and phone line of Trans Community Health.

Compass Community Health has brought as much programming online as possible. The 2SLGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dinner has run twice virtually, and there is interest in developing a food distribution component so some participants who would not otherwise be able to participate can receive the ingredients for the scheduled meal-prep as a package in advance of the virtual event.

Movement break videos (“Safer Space, Move in Place“) can be found on Compass’s Positive Space Page. There are eight in the series and we’ve been asked to spread the word to our contacts who would benefit. Check out the first video on Mindfulness over the weekend, and make a plan to pass the series on to someone it could help. Amplifying the social media message (from Compass’s Instagram and Facebook, or our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) is great, as is a direct referral from you to the folk who rely on each of you for care and support.

The Trans ID Clinics have been paused and the sponsoring organizations are meeting to discuss how to offer this support effectively with social distancing. This may include a FAQ document that will help folk get some answers and start collecting documentation in anticipation of the next in-person clinic, and development of public legal education videos.

AFFIRM is being offered online in May and June by Compass and Hamilton Family Health Team in age ranges 14-18 and 19-29. It’s eight free online sessions of coping skills training for LGBTQ+ and questioning youth.

Compass has created two videos on how to safely self-administer hormones:

A reminder for those supporting individuals who are taking on self-administration of hormones that The VAN is operating with extended hours, and provides injection kits and sharps containers.

Catherine (the 2SLGBTQAI+ Mental Health Clinician through Good Shepherd Youth Services and Youth Wellness Centre) continues to offer support through video and phone sessions without a waiting list, though a waitlist may start soon. A referral form is available directly from Catherine. Follow @goodshepherdmentalhealth on Instagram to see the Instagram Live event planned for Tuesday at 6pm. It’s geared toward supporting the mental health of youth in Good Shepherd programs but all youth are welcome to tune in.

There is an increase in requests for support from trans youth struggling from being stuck home with supportive family or having their thinking and plans around identity and coming out complicated further by social distancing.

The coalition is concerned that the provincial program that funded the first three years of Speqtrum’s operation have not renewed that funding. We understand that the Speqtrum team has been hard at work looking for bridge and longer-term funding so that the critical programs they run and the support they provide to youth can continue.

Pull for Pride will not happen in 2020, as unfortunately the equipment required for deadlifts and bench presses isn’t available through Zoom. Frances, the organizer, is already planning for 2021. We remain so thankful to the Dundas Valley Power and Iron Sisters team for their support!

Please continue to direct youth seeking supports to the Youth Wellness Centre (stjoes.ca & reachouthamilton.ca). Kudos to YWC for switching their service model to phone and video support and making in-person options available as required for youth who find phone or video interaction a barrier.

The SAGE (Support Around the Gender Experience) youth group is working through the requirements of maintaining a drop-in model using online tools. We will hear more from the group on how they’ll move forward as they continue these discussions. Information about how other groups have addressed confidentiality, safety, facilitation, and accessibility while migrating to web-facilitated programming is welcome.

The Education Working Group is integrating feedback received from the pilot run of the Gender Affirming Care course and some subsequent expert assessment. The summer will see some additional engagement with subject matter experts to address gaps and areas identified for improvement. Adrian developed an infographic that summarizes findings of the research project attached to the pilot.

Connect-clinic.com is a trans health clinic available across Ontario which uses the Ontario Telehealth Network to provide gender-affirming care. It is OHIP-covered and offers telemedicine-based medical consultations, advice, and treatment. We discussed this service in the context of establishing a process to determine how and when a new service like this, offered by an organization that is not a coalition member, should be included when volunteers respond to inquiries from the community asking for help accessing gender-affirming care. That discussion is ongoing.

Pride Hamilton has announced Digital Pride Hamilton 2020, Jun 14, 2-5pm.

The update portion of the last RHO Trans Health Mentorship Call notes was shared at the meeting and includes an update on how COVID-19 is affecting trans health services. Sign up to join the call to receive the full notes, which includes the Q&A section that is not distributed.

The coalition applied to the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund through the Department for Women and Gender Equality (Canada) for funding for a trans health navigator. The fund was for internal capacity development (as opposed to direct service) and so the application envisioned the navigator as primarily serving family physicians (e.g. facilitating new memberships and mentoring) who would be ‘internal’ to the coalition. The ask included a budget line to remunerate healthcare professionals for their work to develop the coalition’s educational interventions.

The AIDS Network is asking for donations of masks which can be distributed through The VAN. Check the link and contact James if you can help.

Two new sections of the coalition’s terms of reference were circulated for discussion and adoption.

Next Meeting

The next all-member meeting will be Wednesday, July 15th, 5pm. This will most likely be a zoom online meeting.