Ten cities and the province of Saskatchewan proclaimed March 30th to April 5th, 2014 as Transgender Awareness Week. Transgender, transsexual, genderqueer and other gender diverse individuals experience multiple forms of exclusion in our society based on aspects of their identities and personal realities of gender expression that challenge social and cultural norms. One of the most damaging of these forms of exclusion is a complete lack of recognition that trans-identified and gender diverse individuals exist in our communities. As awareness of the Transgender Community continues to grow in Saskatchewan, it becomes apparent that those who do not conform to our society’s ideals of gender are in need of recognition and support.
TransSask Support Services, Inc. is a province wide support and resource network for sex/gender diverse persons (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and intersex), their spouses, family, friends and allies, as well as those who serve their needs. Since its inception in May of 2011, TransSask has come into contact with hundreds of people from around Saskatchewan requesting information and support as they come to terms with their own identity and further face discrimination and marginalization in their community.
In 2014, TransSask approached all the cities in Saskatchewan, as well as the province itself, to proclaim Transgender Awareness Week. So far, 9 out of 17 cities including Yorkton made the proclamation, as did the province of Saskatchewan through the Minister of Justice, Honourable Gordon Wyant.
Members of the Transgender Community in Saskatchewan continue to face extreme rates of homelessness, unemployment, depression and suicide, family rejection, bullying in our schools, among other things. By proclaiming Transgender Awareness Week, these cities have moved closer towards recognizing and honouring the diversity which exists in Saskatchewan, and further assist in removing those barriers that are faced by the citizens of their fine communities.
“A lot of officials and policy makers say to me, ‘but we don’t have transgender people in our community.’ We do exist, in nearly every community in Saskatchewan, no matter how small. ” --Mikayla Schultz, President of TransSask Support Services, Inc.