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2 min

Asking 1,000 women

Women's College Hospital reaches out to dykes & trans people

Within the next six to eight years Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital is planning to build a new facility in the aim of becoming “the world’s preeminent ambulatory care hospital dedicated to women’s health” — and they want queer input on how to make it all that.

“We specifically want to hear from people who are queer, lesbian, bi and trans,” says Shelley Davidson, strategic navigator for the community consultation project currently being conducted on behalf of Women’s College (76 Grenville St).

To make sure the new health centre is offering the kind of care that queer women want they’re aiming to speak with 1,000 Ontario women about queer health needs, priorities, perceptions and desires when it comes to hospitals and healthcare programs.

“We tried to look at demographics,” says Davidson. “If two percent of Toronto women are Somali, we need to speak with Somali women. Same goes for new immigrants, and for immigrant people who’ve been here for many years, because they may have very specific needs. The lesbian and bi community is another one of those groups. And we’ve had a bit of trouble accessing some groups.

“It’s easy to call a seniors’ home and ask them, not so easy with other communities.”

Interested individuals are invited to take part in one of three ways. A live community forum specifically for lesbians is taking place from 6:30pm to 8pm on Mon, Jun 15 at the 519 Community Centre (519 Church St, room 214). RSVP to shelley.davidson33@gmail.com or by phone at (416) 699-2995. Trans people are asked to drop by The 519 Meal Trans program on Jun 29 from 8pm to 9:30pm to speak with a facilitator informally on-site.

“The questions we’re asking in the meetings will be fairly general questions about the connection between women and their health, past experiences and the unique needs of each demographic group,” says Davidson. “What do you want to see? What do you think the differences might be? We want to hear what your community needs, how those needs haven’t been met in the past.”

Group discussions will be taking place online soon for all those — particularly bisexual and queer women whom Davidson has had trouble recruiting for a separate in-person community forum &mdash. “Our online survey will be up and running fairly soon, and I think that’s the way a lot of people are going to participate,” says Davidson. Again, inquiries can be addressed to Davidson by email or phone; she’ll send out the web address when it’s been confirmed next week.

For those who prefer to provide one-on-one input, women and trans people from all over Ontario are invited to write and an email or letter to Davidson “describing your vision for the ideal women’s hospital. Think about how it might look, how it might feel to be there, the interactions that might take place, and the care that you might receive.” Snail mail can be sent to WCH 1,000 Women; 2192 Queen St E, Suite 62; Toronto, ON; M4E 1E6.