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Giving voice

Grenfell Campus students create gender fluidity care guide

Research

By Melanie Callahan

As part of some group work, Grenfell Campus student Blair Curtis was asked to participate in a project bridging sociological theory to real life.

From left are student Blair Curtis and professor Dr. Rie Croll.
Photo: Submitted

Mr. Curtis, who is transgender, realized he had an opportunity on his hands: documenting the voices of gender-diverse people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Along with the rest of Dr. Rie Croll’s sociology class, Mr. Curtis developed the Gender Fluidity Care Guide, a zine (an online, accessible, publishing platform) manual that will help educate health-care professionals and first responders on gender diverse identities.

In the section of the manual he worked on, Mr. Curtis helped to create an anonymous and voluntary questionnaire that asks people who are gender diverse questions about how health-care professionals can comfortably ask someone’s name and pronouns and how they can best help a gender diverse person with their experience of gender dysphoria.

“Responses to these questions might allow health-care professionals to gain knowledge directly from the gender fluid community,” he said. “As well, it gives gender diverse folks ease of mind knowing that the education health-care professionals receive on their identity is accurate and is grounded in their lived experiences.”

The guide will help people understand the needs of the gender diverse community.
Photo: Submitted

The goal is to get the guide into the hands of as many people as possible.

Mr. Curtis forwarded the guide to Western Health senior officials, doctors, dentists, optometrists, St. John’s Pride, Pflag, Parents of Gender Diverse Kids Western N.L. and Quadrangle.

Feedback regarding the manual has been positive.

A physician forwarded it to the School of Medicine as a potential resource to help medical students understand the needs and circumstances of the gender diverse population, as well.

Mr. Curtis says he hopes that if anyone has questions – even people not in the health-care field – regarding the gender diverse community, that they know the guide is there for them.

“I hope that it encourages conversation with the gender diverse community so that their identities are better understood,” he said. “As well, I hope that it ensures gender diverse folks are able to receive the care they need in an environment that understands them.”


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