The first TransAlberta ID Clinic was held in Red Deer this week to assist transgender and non-binary people through the paperwork required to change their identification cards.
Bobbi-Jo L’Hirondelle, board chair of Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society, said not having the proper identification is much more than an inconvenience.
“They’re ridiculed in their day to day lives. They’re tortured. They’re tormented. They’re belittled. They’re not treated with the same respect as every other person that walks around Red Deer,” L’Hirondelle said.
She said many people take their identification for granted, but for transgender and non-binary people it is a huge part of their lives.
The non-profit Skipping Stone Foundation, of Calgary, held the ID clinic in Red Deer Wednesday, and will continue to host clinics the first Wednesday of every month in the city.
Similar clinics are being held in Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat.
L’Hirondelle said it’s really important for clinics to run in central Alberta.
“There are so many smaller communities around Red Deer that get overlooked by the bigger cities. It makes it so much more convenient and easier for these folks to travel to Red Deer versus travelling to the bigger cities.”
Only a handful of people came out for the Red Deer clinic this week, but society treasurer Marc Lambert said that allowed the volunteers, who are new to the paperwork, extra time to work with clients.
Updates need to be made to a person’s birth certificate, drivers licence, provincial health card, and passports.
He said the whole process can end up taking months and months. If there are any mistakes while filling out forms they will be rejected and weeks will go by before a rejection notice comes in the mail.
“So having these professionals review and help you fill out these documents can be very critical from a time perspective,” Lambert said.
The society is developing a list of the documents and information people should bring to the clinic to assist in the paperwork.
For information on the clinics visit the Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society Facebook page.