Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health

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October 2021

Dear CPATH members, community partners, and supporters,

The CPATH Board  greets you with good wishes for the health of you and yours. We acknowledge that you have not heard from us in a while. Here is an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes.

It was clear after the 2019 conference in Montreal that CPATH needs to make significant changes. At the 2020 AGM, many historical issues were further discussed and the new CPATH board committed to regroup and re-evaluate CPATH’s approach to membership, gatherings and engagement.  We decided to pause on planning a future conference until we can do better, and seek funding for next steps. 

In early 2021 we received WAGE funding [Women And Gender Equality: 2SLGBTQ+ Capacity Building fund] to conduct re-visioning and strategic planning for CPATH’s future. We are eager to share some details with you, and to invite your participation. 

Most importantly, in this process we want to address community feedback surrounding the 2019 (and previous) conferences – that there continues to be an unacceptable chasm between CPATH, and community members /  community-based partner orgs. 

Obstacles in CPATH’s organizational structure, policies and conference procedures have prevented Black, Indigenous and racialized trans and gender diverse people from attending or speaking at the annual conference, and from meaningful involvement generally. We understand these barriers are not limited to, but include:

  • The financial model of membership and conferences, historically, has required most presenters to pay to attend and present.  Although there have been some scholarships available, the cost has meant that those without these financial resources have been excluded.
  • There is significant labour held by trans and gender diverse community members and presenters in doing this work. To be asked to pay to teach increases the emotional and financial burden on community members.
  • There are many students, and unpaid/ underpaid trans and gender diverse community members who can’t afford to attend and meaningfully participate in the conference.
  • The planning of the conference has not always included local community groups and representatives to ensure the conference is accountable to local community needs.
  • The structure of the in-conference proceedings privilege dominant, ‘scientific’, Western, colonial ways of presenting and learning and don’t make adequate space for alternative ways of teaching, learning and knowing.  (E.g. Presenters have struggled to squeeze their rich knowledges into 15-minute panel-style presentations) 
  • CPATH’s membership criteria and board composition have not historically ensured accountable representation by folks with relevant lived experience.

With temporary funding in place to support next steps, we are launching this new work in the spirit of working in better ways with all of our stakeholders, especially Two-Spirit, BIPOC Trans/NB and all gender diverse people, care/service providers and communities.

The current CPATH Board is meeting almost weekly to do this work. We hope that you will continue or renew your membership, be patient with us and join with us as we work together to accomplish this difficult, necessary and important transition. 

To read more about specific activities – please see the WAGE project page on our website, which will be updated throughout the year.

An AGM is likely to be held in Feb 2022, exact date will be announced via the mail list soon. 

Ways to join us:

  • Guide us in the work! Please complete this survey on the future of CPATH. Survey will close November 10th end of day. Questions/comments about the survey? Email community@cpath.ca
  • Renew your membership, or become a member if you aren’t currently. (We are working to review and adjust membership pricing + processes, in the meantime if you face barriers to membership, please email governance@cpath.ca.)
  • We are seeking a few new board members, in particular Two-Spirit Indigenous and racialized trans and gender diverse folks are encouraged to apply. If the application form is a barrier in any way please email governance@cpath.ca
  • If you do not wish to be a member, but want updates about our progress this year, please click here to subscribe to the CPATH maillist.
  • For any other ideas or questions please feel free to email us at info@cpath.ca 

 

We wish you and yours the best of life and health in the days ahead,

Sincerely,
the CPATH Board

Dr. Michael Marshall
Percy Lezard
Lorraine Grieves
Gin Marshall