Transgender friendly health on campus

March 7, 2019 | Health

The intake form for the acupuncture student clinic seemed clearcut and simple, but when third-year student Avery Daugela reviewed her first-ever patient’s returned form, she saw sweeping corrections and areas that were crossed out.

Avery took the time to have a conversation with her patient, an advocate for transgender rights, and discovered that not only were the forms gender binary, they also didn’t need to be structured to separate male and female health concerns.

“The most eye-opening part for me was how binary our everyday language is,” says Avery. “I’ve learned so much from my patient, who has continued with me throughout the semester. She has taught me so much about the language that we use. I would never have thought of how un-inclusive the intake forms really were had she not done that.”

Avery brought her concerns to her professors, who directed her to the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity (OHRDE). The OHRDE runs the Equity Project, an initiative that supports projects focused on diversity, inclusion, equity and/or human rights, and is open to all project ideas from MacEwan students, staff and faculty.

Through the Equity Project, Avery was able to facilitate a discussion and get feedback on how to make the forms more inclusive. The new forms are on their way to the printer, and Avery’s goal is to see them in use before she graduates.

But her idea didn’t stop there.

Her Equity Project application also asked for transgender health awareness training. On March 6, the OHRDE hosted a workshop focused on creating LGBTQ2S+ inclusive spaces and invited students and faculty members from across the university to attend. She says that having an inclusive form won’t make a difference if patients of the clinic have a negative experience with their health-care provider.

“When Avery contacted our office for support via the Equity Project, we felt it was definitely something we could get behind,” says Irfan Chaudhry, director of the OHRDE. “The ask was so simple — amending forms to be more inclusive. Sometimes a request like this can take time to work through a large institution like MacEwan, but with strong collaboration between Avery, her department chair and experts like Kris Wells (who provided feedback on the form), we were able to efficiently facilitate the request. A small change like this has a huge impact on folks feeling reflected in their experiences with MacEwan.”


Pride Week 2019

Join the MacEwan University community to celebrate the diversity of our students, faculty and staff and support the LGBTQ2S+ community and allies.

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter