Not enough data collection for transgender shelter seekers, says WE Trans Support director

Jayce Carver, executive director of W.E. Trans Support, is back from Ottawa, where she argued for a change in thinking about shelters for victims of domestic violence.

'If we don't have a seat at the table, our issues will never be brought forward'

W.E. Trans Support executive director, Jayce Carver, was in Ottawa on Monday to speak before the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, talking about shelters for victims of domestic violence. (Melissa Nakhavoly/CBC)

The executive director of W.E. Trans Support is back from Ottawa, where she argued for a change in thinking about shelters for victims of domestic violence.

That change, for Jayce Carver, calls for more data collection around trans identities and how it affects funding for people within the community.

It's a sentiment which was expressed Monday during a hearing by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, focused on developing federally-funded programs which could serve women and children in domestic violence situations 

"It's not very often that people from marginalized populations are invited to speak at a forum of this kind," said Carver.

She added there is a struggle in getting the federal government to understand how difficult it is for a trans person to feel comfortable enough to access a shelter. 

"They do ask for data collection around other marginalized populations, such as Indigenous woman who are accessing shelter accommodations," she said.

"It is a bit of a push to the government to start asking about trans identities so that appropriate funding goes to supporting those individuals who are accessing shelters."

Male beds? Female beds? Safe beds

She said, in order for members of the transgender community to feel inclusive, funding needs to be distributed away from "male beds" and "female beds" — in favour of "safe beds."

"What we know is that trans people are usually staying in very harmful situations for longer periods of time because they believe they will not have safe access to shelter accommodations."

Being given an invitation to speak to MPs is something Carver doesn't take lightly. She said it's a sign that the trans movement is expanding and there is an interest in keeping members of the community safe.

"If we don't have a seat at the table, our issues will never be brought forward."