Transgender Day of Remembrance

Posted on: November 16, 2023

Every day, and particularly on this day, Island Health stands together with Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people, their families, and allies for Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20. Since 1999, this day has been a time to remember those who have lost their lives to transphobia and anti-trans violence. Unfortunately, transphobia, combined with racism, colonialism, sexism and poverty, continue to disproportionately impact racialized Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people – especially trans women of colour.

At Island Health, we are committed to providing culturally safe, inclusive, accessible, gender-affirming services for our Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary and gender diverse patients, clients, staff and medical staff. Below are some of the initial steps we’re taking to help address health inequities faced by Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people.

  • ​Launching Island Health’s first 2SLGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group
    • ​Staff and community told us there needed to be a space for 2SLGBTQIA+ community members to come together to connect, so we made that happen. This group is here to help create a supportive and inclusive workplace environment where 2SLGBTQIA+ employees can connect with their peers, share experiences, and access resources that fit their unique needs within the workplace. 
    • Taking place monthly, all Island Health employees who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are welcome to join.


  • ​Launching a new 2SLGBTQIA+ Liaison Nurse pilot program
    • Many people within S2LGBTQIA+ communities have had negative experiences with healthcare systems and this can make them anxious about getting the care they need. We’re working to understand more about how to make healthcare better for everyone and to ensure it feels right for people of all genders.
    • Starting December 1, 2023, we’re launching a pilot program at Royal Jubilee Hospital. The 2SLGBTQIA+ Liaison Nurse pilot seeks to enhance the physical, psychological and cultural safety, as well as the overall comfort of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals within our hospital. While the program is mainly at RJH, we will help support at Victoria General Hospital when needed. 
    • More information on the pilot program will be available soon, but for immediate questions please contact:


  • ​The Preferred Name Project
    • ​We know from staff that using people’s preferred names, rather than their legal names, is important.
    • Led by the People Portfolio, supported by EPMO and Corporate Business Solutions, the Preferred Name Project will give employees a way to show the name they prefer to use and see it displayed in highly visible and impactful areas of their daily work. The project is currently in initial assessment phase, with plans to launch in early 2024.


  • ​New Collective Agreement MOA re Trans Inclusion:
    • New language has been included in the 2022-2025 collective agreements to promote diversity, equity and inclusion for employees.  Some of this important language includes:
      • ​Transition Leave – a new 8 week paid leave for trans employees to access for surgical procedures or revisions required during the transition period.
      • General Transition Support – work is underway to develop a process for trans and gender diverse employees to request an individualized transition support plan if they intend to change their gender expression, seek gender-affirming medical care, or both.
      • Updated bathroom signage-- Island Health is working to update bathroom signage to promote a more inclusive workplace for employees of any gender expression or identity.

Resources for Community

For more information on peer support groups across BC, please visit Trans Care BC’s online peer support directory. Some trusted resources include: 

  • The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) offers immediate expert help and confidential access to support employees and their families in dealing with work, health or life issues. Through EFAP, you can access counselling services (either in-person, by phone, or online), tools and resources. Remember, EFAP services that are provided to you are confidential and not reported to your employer.
  • QChat is a peer support line and resource database for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in British Columbia, Canada. Current hours: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM PST, all nights besides Friday. Online chat with a peer support volunteer can be texted via TXT: (250) 800-9036 or you can call toll free at 1-(855)-956-1777.
  • KUU-US is an Indigenous BC Wide Crisis Line offering Safety Monitoring for Indigenous people at risk, local housing supports and urgent need items. KUU-US provides support for Adults/Elders (250-723-4050), Child/Youth (250-723-2040) and Métis Line (1-833-MétisBC) people, as well as a toll free (1-800-588-8717) option.
  • Trans Lifeline is the nation's only crisis and peer-support hotline, staffed by trans people, for trans people. The hotline is operating 24/7, and can be reached by phone at (877) 330-6366.


Learning for Allies

  • To our allies and those who are interested in expanding their knowledge of gender diversity we encourage you to complete the Provincial Health Service Authorities Indigenous Gender Diversity​ and Introduction to Gender Diversity online modules. These offerings are a great starting place for anyone on their learning journey and help stimulate the much needed ongoing dialogue between gender diverse people and their allies. The courses are available to all, free of charge.​