Our People in Profile: prideHealth coordinator Kaitrin Doll advocates for 2SLGBTQ+ to have more seats at the table

When Kaitrin Doll enters a room, she makes an intentional effort to introduce herself and the pronouns she identifies with. 

“My name is Kaitrin Doll and I identify with the pronouns she, her, they and them.” 

Practices like stating the pronouns you identify with is one that the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) prideHealth coordinator tries to implement in her everyday interactions.
 
“I like to try to introduce myself and my pronouns and encourage others to do that as well. Then it’s not a practice that only happens when you think someone might have different pronouns,” Doll said.
 
For her work a prideHealth coordinator, and as a member of NSHA’s primary health care team, Doll supports education, training and advocacy for the 2SLGBTQ+* community.
 
“From my own experience, I want to be here to help ensure that we can help create safe spaces where queer folk feel accepted and included when working in health care environments,” Doll said.
 
Doll works with organizations in the community to learn from individuals with expertise, and with people who have different lived realities while accessing primary health care resources.
 
“At prideHealth, we’re only a team of two; we’re limited, and we’re trying our best to connect folks into a system where there aren’t necessarily a lot of resources,” said Doll.
 
The lack of representation of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in health care is a concern the prideHealth team hears often.
 
“There’s an uncertainty around, ‘will my health care provider be 2SLGBTQ+-informed or queer-informed?’ ” said Doll.
 
The implications of not having a health care provider who is 2SLGBTQ+-informed can lead to misgendering* and hurtful comments.
 
“Everyone has the right to access health care that is safe and affirmative; it’s crucial that we’re making sure that we have representation all levels,” said Doll.
 
Doll believes “having more folks representing marginalized identities within our system will help improve access, help us work on policies that are more representative, and support people to have meaningful employment which improves people’s opportunities and decreases stress in minorities.”
 
“Everyone within the organization has the responsibility to support and affirm the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”
 
If individuals in the organization need more education, Doll said, “that’s where we’re here to support.”
 
“It’s important that we’re pushing back against dominant culture and the idea that everyone is cisgender*; that everybody connects with the sex that they were assigned at birth,” said Doll.
 
Doll wonders “what would realities look like if we didn’t assume that everybody was straight and how would we change our language and behaviour around that?”
 
It starts by making the work environment more inclusive of those realities that may not be seen as normative.

“It’s simple things like putting pronouns in your email signature or business card,” said Doll.

Despite its small staff, prideHealth works with organizations to ensure they’re working together to make spaces safe and accessing all resources for individuals in the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
 
“There are a lot of community organizations that we partner with that are working hard to support 2SLGBTQ+ folks,” Doll said, adding that “we also have diversity and inclusion committees working across the province on policies and framework.”
 
“We know that they’re changing some of the diversity and equity hiring practices which will be more inclusive of queer folk,” Doll said.  
 
Doll emphasized that as an organization we need to “be looking and reflecting on how we can change policies to reflect and support the 2SLGBTQ+ community and what that look like and keeping that in mind as we move forward.”
 
“As people in spaces evolve, we have to be flexible to evolve with those emerging needs.”

Quick facts from prideHealth:

2SLGBTQ+: prideHealth adopted the practice of placing 2S for Two Spirit at the beginning of LGBTQ to acknowledge that Two Spirit Indigenous people were the first sexual and gender minority people in North America, and also to demonstrate solidarity with them in this period of truth and reconciliation in Canada. 2SLGBTQ+ stands for Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning. 

Misgendering: Misgendering means using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify, especially when referring to a transgender person.

Cisgender: Cisgender describes when a person’s gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth.