Category: Uncategorized

May 22nd, 2020

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 ( & 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. 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.

RHO THMC Updates

RHO THMC Updates

These updates were shared at the May 2020 coalition meeting. Sign up to join the RHO Trans Health Mentorship Call to receive the full set of notes following each meeting. The full notes include the question-and-answer section about gender-affirming care, not included here. We’ve also trimmed updates that have already been shared in previous minutes.

New RHO Training module on Puberty Suppression in trans youth is currently being developed to be released late summer or early fall.

If you have any information about services closing and/or services opening to support trans clients during the pandemic, email and RHO will send an email out to the mentorship call list.

Transition-Related Surgical Support Groups: Sherbourne is currently in the process of developing new supports for trans people of all gender identities before, during and after transition-related surgeries. These include educational workshops, group programs and online resources. We hope to start launching these new programs in 2020. Please continue to check the website for updates and if you have any questions send an email to:

RHO is still welcoming requests for training despite the Pandemic. Prior to March, we were booking for December 2020, so new requests for face-to-face trainings will likely be scheduled for December 2020 or later.  Submit requests here:  for training in your area. In-person training previously booked for Summer and Fall 2020 will be considered one at a time depending on the progression of Pandemic Public Health Guidelines in Ontario. If you have training booked with RHO in the coming months, a trainer will be in touch to discuss next steps. is a secure site where folks post their own before and after photos.

Covid-19 impact on TRS wait times and Trans Health Services

GRS and WCH are not currently doing any surgery and re-opening will depend on location of the clinics and Public Health guidelines.

Women’s College Hospital:
Surgeries have been canceled until further notice. Please check the website for updates: is still some availability for appointments via telehealth or phone and for urgent in-person appointments. Get in touch if you have an urgent or pressing matter.

GRS Montreal:
GRS remains closed until end of May 2020 and will reassess close to the end of May. This closure includes all consultations and surgeries. GRS continues to contact patients directly. Check here for updates:

Sick Kids – Finding creative ways to continue with consultations via phone/video (challenging with new clients), in an attempt to reduce number of people coming in person.

Kingston Gender Health Clinic – Continues to support clients by phone and essential in-person appointments as arranged by provider. Check here for updates:

CAMH –Check website for updates:

McLean Clinic – No surgeries or consultations taking place. Those currently booked have been rescheduled. 

Additional Resources

Volunteer peer support line for trans community: Anyone who’s feeling isolated and would benefit from connection is welcome to call (connection details in link). Support line operates from 6-9 p.m. daily.

Telemedicine for Trans Health – Dr. Kate Greenaway/Dr Chris Cavacuiti – self referral

Unity Health Google drive of resources for marginalized populations
Marginalized Populations and COVID-19 Google drive topics:

  1. Addiction and Harm Reduction Resources 
  2. COVID-19 Information 
  3. Food Resources
  4. Housing/Homelessness
  5. Income Supports 
  6. Legal Supports 
  7. Mental Health Resources
  8. Parent/Caregiver Resources 
  9. Seniors Services
  10. Settlement Services
  11. Sex Work and COVID-19
  12. Supports for Indigenous People

Here is the Google drive link for you to view (no Gmail account required) – Please share with your contacts:
Mental health resources:
The resources for each topic will be reviewed and updated weekly.

For under 18’s: LGBT Youthline offers web, phone and text peer support at

Trans Lifeline’s Canadian number is 877-330-6366

ROCK’s 24-hour crisis line for youth up to age 18 is 905-878-9785*
ROCK’s 9-5 access line for youth up to age 18 is 289-266-0046*
*Youth should specific if they wish to receive support that is trans-responsive and/or gender affirming. Please note that while we primarily serve youth in Halton, we strive to provide low-barrier service.

Gender Spectrum: Online resources for youth and adults supporting youth.

519 Covid-19: Essential Services and Supports:

Coronavirus Anxiety Resource: Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety aims to be a place where you can learn how to take care of your mental health, get support, and find calm—with new resources added on a daily basis.

For Health Care Workers: Psychological Support for Front Line Workers. If you are a front-line health service provider, and would like to contact a psychologist, please refer to the link below. It is a listing of psychologists who have volunteered to provide psychological services to front line health care providers. The listing of psychologists is organized into province and territory as well as languages spoken. It is important that you choose one who is on the list of the province or territory in which you are located. The psychologists on the listing have agreed to return calls for requests for service within 24 hours of their receipt and to provide services at no charge.

March 25th, 2020

March 25th, 2020

This roundup contains the minutes of our March all-members meeting and other news. Programming changes quickly as the response to COVID-19 evolves, so please seek confirmation on any details found below that may have changed since last Wednesday.

Support During Social Isolation

Regular group-based programs and events have been cancelled or postponed across the board. It seems increasingly likely that this will continue into Pride month in June.

An excerpt from Speqtrum’s COVID-19 statement: “Our community already experiences isolation and loneliness at disproportionately high rates. The cancellation of events, programs, and in person supports has been really difficult for some 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in our community. We also know that some of us can’t afford time off work, or to stock up on supplies to prepare for a possible quarantine. Some of us are now facing an indefinite period of time at home with parents, family members, or roommates, who aren’t supportive of our communities or identities. Some of us may be going back in the closet, or hiding parts of ourselves that we’re used to expressing. We see you, we’re here for you, and we’re going to work through this together as a community, as best as we can.”

Speqtrum is providing opportunities for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth to connect online, with activities like live cooking and games and dedicated peer support hours. Follow their Instagram for weekly updates and connect the youth you know. Read Speqtrum’s full statement (linked above) which includes other resources, like LGBT Youth Line, Trans Lifeline, and a community-created list of free supports.

Kyle’s Place has posted on Facebook that it can provide support in Hamilton, Niagara, Brantford, and Halton to trans and non-binary people needing grocery/med delivery or rides to appointments. Contact or make an inquiry through the Facebook page.

Catherine McCormack is the new 2SLGBTQAI+ Mental Health Clinician with Good Shepherd Youth Services. She has relaxed the regular intake process to be able to provide telephone, email-check in, texting and Skype support to 2SLGBTQAI+ youth (up to age 25) in a more flexible way. You can contact her directly if you’d like to refer someone who needs support. ( can provide her direct email if you don’t have it.) Catherine is also available to front-line folk for consultation and brainstorming ideas.

Kyle at Compass Community Health uses some of his time on Thursdays to make phone calls to connect with clients who are feeling isolated and need to chat. This is primarily for Compass clients but there is some flexibility to expand this friendly-calling to others in need.

The AIDS Network has extended the hours of The VAN in response to the need to close the office. It will operate its regular hours from 7pm-11pm every night, and additionally on Monday to Friday from 9:00am-11:30am, and 2:30pm-5:30pm. The VAN is a confidential service provided in partnership with Hamilton Public Health Services that travels anywhere in Hamilton and is available at a requested meeting spot. A mobile van will deliver new needles and harm reduction supplies and receive for safe disposal any used harm reduction supplies upon request. Text or call 905-317-9966.

Some clinics and practices are classifying injection visits to be “non urgent” which means they must be cancelled, and family doctors are closing their offices which further restricts access to hormone injections. Some brainstorming at the meeting addressed a specific need (Trans Community Health, NP at Youth Wellness Centre, some possible capacity at practices, Compass) but please reach out if you know of people who aren’t able to get injections or capacity to accommodate people who need injections.

If you offer or are aware of new initiatives that assist trans, gender-diverse, and non-binary folk who are negatively impacted by the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please share them.

Call for Medical Professionals and Trainees

If you are a clinician or in training to become a clinician — medicine, physio, nursery, midwifery, etc. — HAMSMaRT (Hamilton Social Medicine Response Team) needs your help to staff social isolation centres that serve people who are affected by homelessness and COVID-19. Contact to inquire.

HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six have started a weekly newsletter to keep people informed about their work to ensure support is maintained and adapted for people who are homeless and people who use drugs, and opportunities to support that work. Subscribe by emailing Some recommended actions from the first newsletter:

  • DONATE (or ask people in your network to donate)
  • VOLUNTEER Do you have a front porch/outdoor drop off zone and storage space to accept donations of warm hats, mitts, and socks? If so, email us and let us know, we need you!
  • DONATE warm hats, warm wool socks, warm mitts (stay tuned for details on where to donate once we have procured a place)
  • VOLUNTEER Are you asymptomatic, with limited exposure to potential COVID-19 cases, and baking skills? We are looking for a few people to donate their time and skill to make home baked goods for bagged lunches. If this is you, email us and let us know, we need you!
  • DONATE juice boxes, pop, and/or groceries for baking, as requested by our bakers. If you can provide these, email us and let us know, we need you!
  • DONATE wagons for outreach.  We need 3 more large folding canvas wagons.  If you are willing to temporarily lend yours or know someone who would email so we can coordinate drop off.  
  • AMPLIFY our messages on twitter @HAMSMaRTeam and @keepingsix and by forwarding the weekly newsletter, so that decision makers LISTEN to people who are homeless and/or who use drugs about what they need right now

Qmmunity Binbrook

This new LGBTQ2S+ meet-up group in Binbrook rescheduled its March meeting to Tuesday April 18th. This meet-up is social and supportive. Feel free to bring a friend or family ally, and drop in for part of the meeting or stay throughout. Coffee, tea, water, and timbits provided!

We will provide updates closer to that date from Qmmunity Binbrook about whether the in-person meeting will go ahead or be rescheduled, as the regular meeting place (Tim Horton’s on Hwy 56 Binbrook) presently has its seating area closed.

Student Positions

We occasionally receive requests from students who are looking for summer jobs or course placements in programs concerned with trans health, gender-affirming care, and health advocacy. If you are interested in being forwarded inquiries of this type or you have opportunities you’d like us to share with students and youth, please let us know.

RHO Trans Health Mentorship Call – Updates

The email summary of the bi-weekly mentorship call that Rainbow Health Ontario offers includes a Q&A section on the clinical discussion and an updates section. We discussed the updates section at the March meeting and a participant requested that we seek permission from RHO to share these updates regularly. RHO has allowed us to! We can’t share the clinical discussion summaries, but you may join the call yourself or join up for the full summary emails from RHO at this link.

  • Sherbourne is developing new supports for trans folks of all gender identities before, during, and after transition-related surgeries. These include educational workshops, group programs, and online resources. Aiming to launch Winter and Spring 2020. Check website for updates and send questions to
  • Initial data from TransPULSE Canada now available:
  • Rainbow Health Ontario is looking for an MD or NP who is currently doing trans care in the Thunder Bay area to co-facilitate clinical trainings in that region. For more information, please contact Silvana Hernando, Clinical Educator at
  • MOHLTC processing time for applications currently at 10 weeks.
  • Participants sought for a bone density health study, post orchiectomy or oophorectomy. Must be 20 years old or over and scheduled for procedure in the next 6 months. Contact Dr. Raymond Fung for more info: or 416-915-5460.
  • 4th edition of Sherbourne’s Guidelines for trans care is now available at
  • New requirement from GRS: include a photocopy of the patient’s OHIP card with the application package.
  • Resources for creating welcome spaces: Article on ‘Caring for your patients identifying as sexual and gender minorities’ Contact Ruby if you would like an additional infographic for your working space, created by UofT.
  • Women’s College Hospital posting for a Post-doctoral Fellow – Transgender Health. For further information about the fellowship, or to submit your application package, please contact Evelina Rutkowski at
  • Next version of WPATH Standards of Care coming late 2020.
  • Women’s College Hospital Transition Related Surgery program’s Grand Rounds. Phone number and contact information on their website to get on the distribution list.
  • Telemedicine – Dr. Kate Greenaway/Dr. Chris Cavacuiti – self referral at
  • Transforming Rounds: a series of podcasts engaging with the latest research on Trans healthcare in Canada. Together, healthcare providers and trans/gender diverse health care users navigate the complexities of a cis normative health care system.

The mentorship call is on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, noon to 1pm. A mental health mentor is also available on the 1st Wednesday. Open to any professional (physician, nurse, social worker, mental health worker, etc.) who is already working with gender-diverse clients or who is intending to. Register (form at bottom of page) to get call access information.

Other Updates

  • Rebecca Welbourn at Health Information Technology Services has agreed to help the coalition develop materials to make using eConsult and connecting to the two transgender specialty groups (HNHB and Provincial) easier for family physicians who are new to gender-affirming care. So for example, instead of saying “eConsult is available to you” we can go more in-depth, maybe including the registration process or a “here’s what to expect” in training resources on our website.
  • LGBT Youth Line is operating is regular hours but offering support by chat, text, and email (i.e. no phone) due to its youth staff working from home. This is a support service that runs Sun-Fri 4-9:30p, and is not a crisis line.
  • The main portion of the course pilot has been completed, and the Education Working Group has gathered a lot of valuable information from participants. Adrian extended thanks on behalf of the EWG to all the participants. Unfortunately the in-person practicum where participants could interact with simulated patients had to be cancelled because McMaster cancelled non-urgent activities in medical centre facilities. We are beginning the process of seeing what we’ve learned and where the course can be improved to address feedback gathered in the pilot.
  • SAGE and other groups at Youth Wellness Centre are not currently running.
  • The coalition’s response to email inquiries is not meeting its response-time goals (three business days). If this continues we should assess whether we need to change the part of the website that advises people what to expect, add additional volunteers to increase capacity, or look at whether it’s feasible for the coalition to provide this service.
  • A non-profit corporation called Hamilton Trans Health Coalition Inc. has been established to provide structure (bank account, accept donations, enter into partnerships, contract, sell, employ, etc.) to support the coalition’s ongoing work.
  • Members identified a gap in services in Hamilton: support for partners of trans people (e.g. peer-support groups). What can the coalition do to address a gap like this? Who might be working on closing this gap already? What resources are available (e.g. Compass and TAN for space, grants to establish)? What pitfalls should we avoid (e.g. expecting volunteer labour to sustain a service)?
  • Is there a group in Hamilton to support trans women having bottom gender affirming surgery? If not, what would be a good model for such a group (like a Facebook resource with Q&A service supported by people with lived experience and clinicians, approach a health centre with an idea like this).
  • Some practitioners with full practices find themselves with an open session here or there (e.g. a counselling spot) and want to prioritize access for 2SLGBTAI+ folk; would that be best done by advertising occasional spaces to the email list or is there a better way to match up need with this kind of irregular opportunity?

Terms of Reference

At each coalition meeting we will highlight a section of our terms of reference, so we can develop a common understanding of our purpose among long-time and new members, and so we can discuss if changes are needed.

This month, the four goals of the coalition:

  1. Be responsive to requests from the community, to connect people to services or supports when they are available and to catalogue gaps when the connection cannot be made.
  2. Provide formal education opportunities that expand the capacity of the health care system in Hamilton to serve trans individuals.
  3. Provide professional mentorship that expands the capacity of the health care system in Hamilton to serve trans individuals.
  4. Advocate for trans individuals’ access to high quality, comprehensive, evidence-based and patient-centred health care in Hamilton, using the data and knowledge we have gathered through our work.

Next Meeting

The next all-members meeting of the coalition is Wednesday, May 20th at 5pm.

Apply: The City’s Expanding Housing and Support Services for Women and Transgender Community Sub-Committee

The City of Hamilton is seeking applicants with experience and interest in homelessness prevention and the provision of affordable housing.

The advisory committee named Expanding Housing and Support Services for Women and Transgender Community Sub-Committee reports to council through the Emergency and Community Services Committee on emerging issues in housing and support services for women and transgender and non-binary persons.

Apply before October 31st at 4:30pm.

For more information and to view the Terms of Reference, visit, email, or call 905-546-2424 ext 2604.

Poster that invites people to apply to join the Expanding Housing and Support Services for Women and Transgender Community Sub-Committee
Event: Hamilton Public Library’s new 2SLGBTQ+ Archive

Event: Hamilton Public Library’s new 2SLGBTQ+ Archive

You’re Invited

Tuesday October 22, 2019
7:30pm – 10:30pm

A fundraiser to support Hamilton Public Library’s new 2SLGBTQ+ Archive, in honour of Michael Johnstone.

Mills Hardware
95 King Street East
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 1A9

$25 – purchase tickets on Eventbrite

Wear your favourite scarf, share stories, listen to music and celebrate Michael’s legacy. Send questions to

Event: Casey Plett

Event: Casey Plett

Casey Plett wrote the novel Little Fish, the short story collection A Safe Girl to Love, and co-edited the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. She is a winner of the Amazon First Novel Award, the ALA Stonewall Book Award Barbara Gittings Literature Prize, and a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award. She has written for The New York Times, The Walrus, McSweeney’s, Maclean’s, and Rookie, among other publications. She lives in Windsor, Ontario.

Presented by the English and Cultural Studies Visiting Speaker Series
Tuesday October 29th, 3:00-4:00 pm
Concert Hall, LRW (McMaster University)

For more information or to request accommodations, please contact Grace Kehler ( or Sarah Brophy (

Merriam-Webster dictionary adds ‘they’ as nonbinary pronoun

Merriam-Webster dictionary adds ‘they’ as nonbinary pronoun

“Attention grammar snobs: ‘they’ can officially be used as a singular, nonbinary pronoun. Merriam-Webster, the oldest dictionary publisher in America, officially recognized the usage today, when it added 533 words to its online dictionary.Read the article at The Guardian, Sep 17

Even very strict grammarians can learn to be good allies. Thanks to coalition member Adrian for sharing this.