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Oct. 12, 2022

Supporting rural 2SLGBTQAI+ folks

Supporting rural 2SLGBTQAI+ folks
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*2SLGTBQIA+ is an acronym forTwo-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and the plus reflects the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify.

Canada’s large urban centres have long been supportive and embrace of members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, recognizing they are an integral and important part of any diverse community, however rural communities tend to lag behind.

Many small communities are experiencing intolerance and hatred, sometimes in the form of a protest outside a Drag Storytime at a local library or a more aggressive burning of a pride or trans flag.

Support for queer and trans folks in rural Canada is the work of allies but many step forward from the community itself to make a safe space and community for others.

Dr. Kay Dingwell is an emergency care physician in PEI, and she also happens to have a specialty in gender-affirming care. 

The World Health Organization defines gender affirming care as a range of social, psychological, behavioral, and medical interventions “designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity” when it conflicts with the gender they were assigned at birth. Treatments range from laser hair removal, male or female hormone therapy, chest or breast, otherwise known as ‘top’ surgery, “bottom” surgery, which can transform and/or rebuild genitals, and other health care treatments.

Kayla Grantis running in the upcoming Woolwich, Ontario municipal election. She has self-identified as queer. The current council, while reviewing a citizen letter about installing a ‘rainbow crosswalk’ a councilor said he wouldn’t be supporting it because he didn’t support the ‘lifestyle’. Another councilor corrected him but he went ahead and referred to 2SLGBTQ+ folks as living a ‘lifestyle’ and was corrected again. 

Both women joined me to talk about supporting queer and trans folks in rural Canadian communities.