LGBTQ2S health front and center at conference opening in Sudbury today
About 300 people are expected to attend, participate over 3 days of talks
Rainbow Health Ontario is bringing a conference to Greater Sudbury this week that focuses on the health and wellness of LGBTQ2S people — and it's the biggest such conference of its kind in Canada.
The Director of Rainbow Health Ontario, Devon MacFarlane, said holding the conference in Sudbury is part of an effort to acknolwedge and deal with the challenges and barriers to care faced by those living in the north and in rural areas.
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The conference brings together health and social service providers, community members, researchers, and policy makers to advance the health outcomes of LGBTQ2S Ontarians, said MacFarlane.
As many as three hundred people are expected to attend.
The watchword at this conference is intersectionality: the idea that things like race, class, gender and sexual orientation overlap to compound a person's experience of discrimination or disadvantage — and make it more difficult for that person to find appropriate care.
MacFarlane used himself as an example.
"For me as a trans person, I experience a certain set of barriers, but because I'm white, I'm not also experiencing racism when I'm doing that. Because English is my first language, I don't have language barriers," he said.
Progress has been made, said MacFarlane, and he's particularly encouraged by health and social service providers seeking out the organization for information and education.
"'[It's been] purely voluntary. And we've also been able to start providing some training while people are still in med school."