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Push for peer-led clinic for transgender people on Downtown Eastside

Last Updated Jul 16, 2017 at 8:06 am PST

(Photo courtesy PACE Society via Instagram)

PACE Society believes an in-house, peer-led clinic could be a life-saving resource for transgender people in BC

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An organization on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is trying to fill a gap in clinic services available to transgender people.

PACE Society offers support and services for sex workers.

The organization is trying to raise funds for a peer-led clinic for transgender individuals. PACE Society currently offers support and accompaniment when members head to medical appointments.

“So we are hoping to be able to bring some of those services in house, where our members feel safe and comfortable and supported,” says coordinator Brenna Bezanson.

“So that we can make the task of accessing medical services less stressful and more comfortable for people that really need it.”

“Our hope is that we would be able to provide once-a-week services, depending on how we do with funding.”

Bezanson says a peer-led clinic is important for transgender people experience marginalization and rejection when they access health services.

“There is a level of emotional labour and exhaustion that trans people experience accessing healthcare that other folks don’t. We have to, more often than not, explain our life to a healthcare provider in order to receive basic healthcare. We often end up having to do the educating, to receive the same healthcare that most people need.”

Bezanson says there’s no program of this kind operating in British Columbia, and it could be a life-saving service for transgender individuals.

“More often than not what we see here at PACE is that folks are so used to being rejected or mistreated that they ultimately just stop accessing services.”

The organization has entered a competition to win $20,000 for the clinic.