Have you heard of CPATH? CPATH is the acronym for the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health, an organization of professionals dedicated to trans health.
This organization was founded in 2007 with the goal of connecting a network of healthcare providers willing to meet annually to discuss and advance trans health issues and research. CPATH is therefore interested in people who self-identify as trans, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, in transition, non-binary, queer, and men and women with transitional medical histories. For the remainder of this text, we will use the term trans to encompass the entire spectrum outlined above.
Trans people are increasingly visible in society. They represent between 0.5% and 1% of the Canadian population . Also, the number of people requiring transition-related care doubles every five or six years. Although great progress has been made over the years, access to satisfactory healthcare for trans people remains a challenge. Not all healthcare professionals are personally or professionally aware of the issues faced by trans people or the complexities of care.
An american study found that 19% of trans people have experienced a denial of care, 28% have experienced harassment in a medical setting, and 50% report that they have had to educate their doctors about trans care. CPATH works mainly to improve access to health services in a positive way, end stigma, contribute to the development of skills for professionals working with trans people, and generally disseminate information to broaden the inclusion of trans people.
In a two-year process, CPATH also worked towards generating ethical guidelines for research involving trans people and communities. These ethical guidelines list six overarching principles for trans research:
- Attentiveness to Issues of Legitimacy and Impact on Communities;
- Engagement with Communities;
- Consent and Confidentiality;
- Consideration of Diversity, Power, Marginalization and Representation;
- Accountability to Participants and Trans Communities;
- Reflexivity on the Part of Researchers and Research Teams.
These Ethical guidelines were developed by a team of trans people and professionals and are the result of workshops and consultations held at the CPATH conference in Halifax in 2015, at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) conference in Amsterdam in 2016, and at the Two Spirit and Queer People of Colour Call to Conversation with LGBT & Allies conference in Winnipeg in 2017.