A guide to trans resources in AlbertaEdit

This is designed to be a guide to information and Albertan resources for transsexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, two-spirited and questioning people, their family, co-workers, allies and the medical professionals and community advocates who work with them. Contributions are welcome, but should be supported with references where possible. Administrators reserve the right to resolve any conflicting entries made.

If you have a business or service that is trans-friendly, you are welcome to add it to our resources pages, organized for Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Northern Alberta, Central Alberta and Southern Alberta.

If you are a doctor who is willing to accept trans patients and follow the WPATH Standards of Care governing trans health, please let us know, and we will gladly add you to our trans-friendly doctors list -- you may also want to visit our medical resources page, for links to useful information such as treatment protocols implemented in prominent clinics in Canada.

We also have an online resource library of publications that can be used to educate people on trans issues.

While endeavoring to provide as much factual and non-partisan information as possible, this wiki is also a grassroots community project, working with many groups and organizations, but not owned by any particular one. As such, the first rule is respect, and administrators will enforce that judiciously. Opinion and debates should be reserved for blogs and offlist. This is neutral space -- safe space.

The website was born on September 30th, 2006, with subsequent incarnations implemented in December 2007, August 2008, March 2009 and September 2012, which is when it was adapted to wiki form. (A bit of trivia for the curious: it was originally going to be called the "Gender Identity Network of Alberta," with the intent of evolving into a non-profit organization (the phrase appeared on the first incarnation, but was soon scrapped because of inclusion issues.)

Transsexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex and questioning: Diverse, intersecting and allied communitiesEdit

Trans communities are incredibly diverse, and cover a range of people from all walks of life, all races, classes, ages, abilities, faiths and (of course) genders, who share the fact that they face challenges because of their gender identity and/or gender expression. A person's core understanding of their gender is sometimes very unique and personal, and they may not agree with the way some of the terms here are described -- or even consider themselves to be trans at all (and it is not the intent to co-opt anyone) -- but it is the desire of this project to present the most commonly-accepted information within the communities in question in the clearest possible format.

It's important to know that there are two possible characteristics in play, when we talk about trans people. The one most visible in society today is transsexuality: the situation in which people assigned female at birth understand themselves to be male or people assigned male at birth understand themselves to be female, and set upon a transition path to resolve this conflict. Transsexuality is primarily about resolving issues with ones physical sex. Transition, self-identification and self-understanding are discussed in the page on transsexuality.

The other characteristic is when an individual doesn't identify as male or female (or not completely), but rather somewhere in between, whether as non-gendered, dual gendered or gender fluid. This is not as well understood in society, but as unusual as it may sound to onlookers, this is not without precedent in nature, and is nothing to fear. Gender non-conformity is about resolving one's mental gender, and expressing it. More information follows on related pages.

Many trans resources use "transgender" as an umbrella term for both of these characterstics. The one area in which this wiki deviates from the mainstream is that it endeavors to differentiate different trans communities and avoid an umbrella grouping. This is not to cause division or villainize any group, but to present some clarity that there are two characteristics being discussed. This helps to understand why some trans people need to be accommodated as the men and women they transition to be, while others seek third-gender or non-gendered accommodation. This is not a case of "wanting it both ways" or "not being able to make up ones mind."

Just as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, asexual, omni/pansexual, two-spirit and questioning people don't all neatly fit under an umbrella of "gay," trans communities should be understood as various allied groups, and not a single one-size-fits-all entity.

It should also be noted that while we can distinguish two different characteristics, individuals cannot always be neatly divided up that way. For example, a person may be transsexual, but for any number of reasons (health, finances, fear of losing their spouse / children / job, distrust of the medical system, unwillingness to undergo a major surgery) may not transition (or might only partially transition), causing them to be legally somewhere in between sexes. So many of the trans communities' issues can overlap, but they will occasionally diverge or even conflict.

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