Outside the Margins

This Global News story discusses queer, trans and non-binary people’s experiences with cancer care in Canada – including the stories of Selene Caister and Kimiko Tobimatsu. Researcher and medical sociologist Jacquie Gahagan (associate vice-president of research for Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia) provides additional commentary from their experience with the Cancer’s Margins project.

While the onus is partially on doctors to listen to their patients and not make gendered assumptions about their treatment, there are also structural issues within the Canadian health care system that create undue stress for LGBTQ2 cancer survivors.

“The hospital is the one place guaranteed to constantly dead-name you, and not just do it once, but do it every five minutes,” Caister says. A dead-name is the name that a transgender or non-binary person used before transitioning.

“It’s part of their requirement — to make sure they don’t give the wrong procedure to the wrong person — to constantly be asking you for your personal information,” Caister said. “So literally every time I go to a hospital, it’s like the worst experience.”

Link to the news article