The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre has made a commitment to become more [trans] inclusive. This means that our services are open to women and any [trans1] or gender variant survivor of sexualized violence. Any woman, person who does not identify with the gender or sex they were assigned at birth, or individual who does not identify as either a “man” or a “woman” is welcome to use our services.
Why We’re Making This Change
Sexualized violence is experienced by people of all genders but like women, the percentage of [trans1] and gender variant people who experience sexualized violence is disproportionately high. For [trans] and gender variant survivors knowing that if they access a service they can present or identify as their authentic self is vital. Our hope is that all [trans] survivors who are seeking support can feel welcome using our services, whether they identify as a woman, man, genderqueer, or otherwise.
Unfortunately there are many stories of [trans] people experiencing re-victimization or marginalization when they access the services they need, often because of a lack of knowledge or understanding of how to support [trans] individuals. By being active about our [trans] inclusion process our hope is to generate new stories of positive experiences, healing, and support. By becoming a [trans] inclusive VSAC we hope that all [trans] individuals who access our services feel as though there is an agency they can turn to for support. We also hope to diminish transphobia, that is to say a fear or hatred of [trans] people, and increase the level of support and care at a broader level by engaging in conversations with our communities.
We are so excited to grow and learn, both at the Centre and in the community, throughout this process. We have found that by becoming a Centre where more [trans1] people feel comfortable being involved we are learning from the knowledge and gifts [trans] individuals have to share and in turn are being pushed to consider not only how to better our services for [trans] survivors but also how to be more accessible to those whose the voices are sometimes not heard or listened to.
Read more about why we feel [trans] inclusion is important.
A Work in Progress
Thanks to the Vancouver Foundation we were able to hire a Trans Inclusion Coordinator to oversee the first three years of this process. We welcome any suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns about how we can make the Centre as accessible and welcoming as possible and invite you to get in contact with us.
A Note on Language Use
There are hundreds of words people use to describe or identify gender. Each of these words has a history and a special meaning for each individual. The only way to know what someone truly means when they say they identify with certain language is to ask.
At VSAC we use “[trans]” as an umbrella term to describe anyone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, including identities and presentations outside of the binary of “man” and “woman.” Though we use this term as a way to encapsulate many identities with only one word we also recognize that it is impossible to describe the complexity and diversity of such vibrant communities through a singular term. In our services we respect people’s choice to self-identify and we use people’s language of preference.