Thursday, July 02, 2009

Update on NOWHC

It's worse than we thought and not in the way we thought either.

Someone from the clinic got back to Queen Emily personally and allowed her to post the response. And it turns out, no one is getting medical care from the clinic.

We agree that the questions and concerns you raise are very important. The priorities we hold in providing safe, accessible, and unbiased care to women regardless of their race, income, sexuality, gender identity, body type, citizenship status, work sector, legal history, ability, age, language, and family size and status are often regarded as a “risk” and “liability” by many medical professionals. This reality has delayed our efforts to hire a new Medical Director and created many barriers for many members of our community, including you, in seeking safe, quality, and respectful services.

In making the statements “we are currently not able to provide care to trans people who were male assigned at birth or who have had genital sex reassignment surgery. Please call for referrals,” we were referencing the lack of experience and training that our former medical staff had in providing trans affirmative care to all women regardless of their body types, and gender identities and expressions. We recognize that the current language on our website marginalizes trans women in particular, even though it says elsewhere that we provide services to “all women.” Although “services” provided at the Clinic are not restricted to our medical programs, we recognize that the way it is written implies that we offer no services at all to trans women, which is marginalizing and confusing. It would be more accurate to say that our goal is to provide medical services to all women, though we are having a difficult time reaching it.

Thankfully, this means Incite! and the NOWHC are in fact the people we thought they were, and are working towards meeting the needs of the women in their communities. Sadly, what we've unearthed are a number of pieces to the puzzle of just how hard it is to do that. That care for trans women is seen as a liability to many. That the clinic is still not getting the support it needs to achieve it's absolutely vital mission.

Better and yet so much worse than I was hoping for.

As for the shit that was thrown about over this in the blogosphere, there's not a lot I feel ok saying much about. Being an ally and not actually sharing in an identity from which people were speaking (trans woman, twoc or woc), I don't really think it's my place to say "you're doing it right/wrong". But I do want to say this, that is that I see some serious creative energy being channeled towards a new project coming directly out of this. That, at least, I feel very confident saying is a really good thing. The rest of it, I really hope to see learning and growth come out of as well. I have nothing but love and respect for everyone involved, all doing their best to deal with a life and death issue for people they care about and/or are allied with or one of.

I will keep you updated on the situation for the NOWHC as it develops. It appears, from their response at Questioning Transphobia, that they are re-evaluating their goals and how they plan to work in the community. If I come across any way for us to help in that, I will absolutely let you all know.