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Trans experience tough

Re: Accommodating the transgender student (July 26). In some ways, it is easy to give lip service to gender-neutral washrooms, but it can be a distraction from the many other barriers trans people face in life.

The extreme focus on washrooms detracts from our actual lives and experiences. Trans people continue to face extreme amounts of discrimination and prejudice in employment, education, public accommodation, health care and the criminal justice system. Trans women are especially vulnerable to violence, involvement in survival sex work and street harassment, further compounded by other forms of marginalization, such as racism.

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Transgender people of all ages experience extremely high rates of suicide, poverty, substance abuse, mental illness and incarceration, a direct a result of living in a society that is hostile to our existence.

The increased media coverage of trans issues has brought a new visibility to us. On the surface, this might appear to be a boon.

In actuality, the lurid focus on which washrooms we should be in, the details of surgeries, and scrutinizing how well we "pass" (that is to say, how much we do not look trans) does little or nothing to help us in our real lives.

Merrill Grant



Child cases not cherry-picked

Re: Dead toddler had CFS contact (July 25). While I applaud the Free Press for reporting on such important issues, I reject the contention that the Office of the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth "cherry-picks" the cases it reviews.

In fact, a preliminary review of all critical injuries and deaths of children who have received services from the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development during the 12 months preceding the critical incident is done.

Once such preliminary reviews have been conducted, it is decided which individual cases warrant full investigations and reports -- the cases that offer the best opportunity for learning. Issues are examined outside the realm of partisan politics to determine what improvements can be made to improve the lives of children and prevent future tragedies.

The office also conducts periodic aggregate reviews on child deaths and critical injuries to determine commonalities and recommend how the resulting data can enhance practice and improve outcomes going forward.

Reports from both individual and aggregate reviews are tabled in the B.C. legislature and released to the public. We also work closely with aboriginal families and communities, and follow appropriate protocols to respect cultural practices and traditions.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

Office of the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth

Victoria, B.C.


Sports section scores big

Kudos to the Winnipeg Free Press for publishing an outstanding sports section this weekend. The midnight oil was kept burning late Friday night, waiting for the results of the Blue Bombers' victory over the B.C. Lions before going to press.

In the past I've been a critic of the Free Press for what I see as weak coverage of the CFL. I'm not talking about the Bombers -- my frustration has been a lack of substantive stories about what is going on across Canada's league.

Thank you for offering up a sports section with variety, insights and some real CFL news. Well done.

Gary Hook



Green spaces priceless

Former city councillor Gord Steeves, who now wants to be mayor, is looking to sell some community green amenities/assets and use the funds to fix infrastructure (Golf courses out, road repairs in: Steeves, July 26).

Steeves clearly does not understand the true value of these community spaces. Community quality-of-life amenities such as our open green spaces are necessary for the health and well-being of communities today and for future generations.

Urban open green spaces such as golf courses, parks and other recreation areas have a positive effect on property values and consequently higher property-tax revenue. These spaces add value to the health and social well-being of a community that is beyond any dollar value.

Furthermore, they are a tool for attracting businesses and residents by guaranteeing quality of life and stimulating physical and economic health.

What is required is enlightened leadership with vision that will build a better Winnipeg today and for future generations. Promising to sell off some of our community assets is not enlightened, visionary leadership.

John Kubi



Spending requires foresight

Not wanting Gary Hook to suffer further angst (Wasting money all relative, Letters, July 26), he, and undoubtedly Brian Pallister, would have deemed Duff Roblin to have wasted money on building "Duff's Ditch."

While Premier Greg Selinger is not heading for Saskatchewan, it looks like our electricity is. The United States' businesses lose billions each year due to their declining power grid; Selinger's farsightedness has taken note of these export opportunities, making $1 billion a potentially paltry investment.

Don Halligan



Shootings raise concern

Re: 'It was like they'd just shot a dog' (July 22). If I were to shoot an unarmed person, I would be at the remand centre right now.

There have been far too many police officers killing people with impunity in this country. While the fellow who got shot may not have been a model citizen, he was not armed with any sort of weapon, but shot just the same.

The episode in Vancouver airport where Robert Dziekanski was killed by the RCMP is still not resolved. The killing of Sammy Yatim, who was holding a folding knife on an empty bus in Toronto, is not resolved.

I respect the law. But the law also has to apply to those whose function is to uphold the law.\

Jack Christian



Capitation system no solution

Re: Health-care system flawed (Letters, July 25). In the capitation system patients are assigned to a doctor, who gets paid by the number on his/her list and not by the services provided.

It is a boon for the government and the doctor; the government knows its costs, can claim every patient has a doctor, and the doctor gets a good salary.

The downside is if you don't get along with your doctor, it is nearly impossible to switch doctors or get a second opinion.

This perverse variation of the single-payer system is not the answer to the serious deficiencies of the present system.

Ernest Dias


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2014 A8

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