Last night I had the opportunity to attend the CHEST FEST FUNDRAISER, at Broken City, which was part of a running Top Surgery Fund campaign for Kier Fist. I am sure there are a group of none rock’n’rollers who don’t really know who Kier Fist is. Well firstly, he’s an artist from Lethbridge, AB who has been part of the music scene in Southern Alberta since conception (seriously). He’s currently in a band called Fist City with his twin sister Brittany Fist and good pals Evan Van Reekum and Ryan Grieves. And secondly he’s an all round awesome dude who I feel lucky to call my friend (awww sappy thoughts). The fundraiser was a giant success not only monetary wise but it also made a beautiful example of how great the power of people coming together for a cause really is, plus the bands were a riot: Fist City, Soft Option and Sorry.
There was only one glitch in the night and it was something most of us were unfortunately expecting. We had the unnecessary task of being forced to argue with someone who didn’t understand the need for such a fundraiser. The incident really testified to the fact that a number of people aren’t thinking about transgender issues at all and can easily mistake this sort of fundraiser and surgery as unnecessary.
Let me make this blatantly clear: this sort of fundraiser is just as important and necessary as any other fundraiser, like cancer or AIDS, is. Being Transgender isn’t a main stream mentality so I do understand why people are not talking about it over coffee (even though we should be). Most people aren’t aware of the issues, process and trials & tribulations that come with a transition. To begin with, top surgery is not covered in Alberta’s health care plan and can cost an individual up to $8000.00 (including the cost of travel/hotel). Not only is the surgery costly but the medical aid in Alberta is limited. According to www.AlbertaTrans.org there are only two practicing psychiatrists in Alberta who can give the green light to an individual wanting to transition. An individual wanting to transition not only has to be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (Disorder? Right. Even our language needs to be re-examined) but they also need to be put on a hormone therapy program by an endocrinologist. It is a long process and I’ve been seriously disappointed with the lack of support Alberta has given to the transgender community.
Not only does the government of Alberta send the message of being unsupportive so does the medical community of Alberta (oh, 2012). So there’s reason number 1 for such a fundraiser. A fundraiser for Top Surgery just highlights a need for government and medical support. The second reason comes from the argument that erupted at the fundraiser: we need to start changing our views on transgenderism. We need to start talking about it more so the government and the medical community start putting its support behind those who wish to become who they really are. But above all that we need to put ourselves behind the cause and see it as a human rights issue. I am glad that I went to the fundraiser to see a part of Calgary’s community come out and support. I was even more glad to see all the artwork and t-shirts that were bought & taken home by those who attended. Pesky argument put aside, the night was a success but it would’ve been greater if all of Calgary’s community would’ve came out to stand up for human rights. Its time Alberta.