Testimonial by Benjamin, 25, former client
I first accessed Head & Hands services at 21, in May 2009. I had just arrived to Montréal from B.C. with no support or knowledge about health services for transsexual individuals residing in Quebec.
I first heard about Head & Hands through my roommate, who told me I could go there to access social and health services on a non-judgmental basis. As a newcomer to Quebec, without a valid medical card, I also could access services without having to pay a heavy fee.
After a brief meeting outside the metro, Anita, a Head & Hands street worker, gave me her card and told me I could call her at any time for clean needles, support, referrals, or if I had general inquiries about navigating the city as a newcomer and as a trans person—all of which I took advantage of as the years came to pass.
For the first time I had a doctor who was committed to monitoring my transition and educating me on issues from how to inject safely to understanding the realities of trans pregnancy. There was a sexual health educator who I could call or email at any time for inquiries ranging from safe sex practices to finding trans friendly alternative health care providers in the city. At one point, the social counsellor Rhonda even made a long distance call to B.C to speak with a family member who was having a hard time accepting my transition.
Head & Hands has not only helped me survive and come to know, love, and appreciate my transness, but has also redefined the meaning of community and family for someone who had very little of both prior to arriving in Quebec. The services that Head & Hands offers go beyond their mission statement and speak volumes to just how much the Head & Hands family is capable of. Head & Hands truly was and is the familial support group that I and many other trans people lack when taking on the world one day at a time.
Though I no longer access Hands & Hands services, as a local trans activist Head & Hands is most often the first place recommended in our community, and has proven itself with the highest regard time and time again.