LHSC will only ask queer patients about gender and sex when relevant, following complaints
Gender identity will be respected even if it doesn't match their legal documentation
Staff at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) will only ask patients about their gender and sex — and document the information — when it's relevant to the care they're seeking.
Robyn Hodgson, a registered nurse, was a consultant for the hospital network's initiative and says the change comes after a number of complaints from the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
"There was a large portion of the community that was finding when they were accessing services, that they were not being identified in a means that was appropriate to their presentation or to what they know to be of themselves," said Hodgson, who is also the lead for the London InterCommunity Health Centre's Trans Health Program.
"There was also a lack of acknowledgement of what their presenting concern was and more everything was being focused on what their gender identity was when they came through the door, whether it was from a clinician or from a support staff."
In a social media post Tuesday, LHSC said, "As a part of our commitment to providing inclusive, accessible and culturally/gender safe care, LHSC has made changes to how we document gender and sex within a patient's record and what is being asked of patients about their gender and sex.
"This is an ongoing process of learning."
Hodgson said not only will queer people just discuss their gender and sex when it's relevant, but their given name and gender identity will be "respected and honoured" when accessing healthcare, even if it doesn't match their legal documentation.
"If somebody presents with a gender expression, we know that some gender identities wear specific clothing," said Hodgson. "And if it doesn't correlate with your documentation, there is nothing worse than walking in and just being assessed by the clothing you're wearing and having somebody refuse to acknowledge who you know yourself to be."
'A huge change'
Christa Duvall, the director of PFLAG London, welcomes the change and sees this as a "huge change" for London's trans and non-binary community.
"People who are trans don't often disclose their status because it's not always safe," said Duvall.
"You receive different health care, people look at you differently, if people are out there who are homophobic or transphobic, they may do something untoward to you, it can cause dysphoria for the patients themselves. And if the healthcare has absolutely nothing to do with that, there's no reason to have it disclosed at all."
According to 2021 census data, there are 59,460 trans people and 41,355 non-binary people nationwide, making up one-third of a per cent of the Canadian population aged 15 and older.