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‘The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care’ Edited by Zena Sharman

‘The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care’ Edited by Zena Sharman

Author: H. Melt

June 11, 2017

The Remedy is a much-needed anthology that shares stories from patients and providers across the healthcare field. This book is the opposite of a dry textbook filled with overwhelming statistics, diagrams, and medical language. Instead, editor Zena Sharman presents an inclusive collection of personal narratives by queer and trans writers, including Vivek Shraya and Amber Dawn. The Remedy calls for a world where queer and trans competent care is the norm, rather than the exception, in the medical field.  

In her introduction, Sharman provides an overview of the current state of queer and trans health, focusing mostly on the United States and Canada. She says, “It doesn’t take a PhD or a medical degree to figure out that experiencing systemic discrimination is bad for your health.” The book illuminates ways that queer and trans people have been both discriminated against and affirmed in relationship to their health. Only five hours are typically spent teaching queer and trans healthcare in medical school. This book seeks to remedy that lack of education by serving as a resource for current providers and a way for queer and trans people to feel empowered to take care of their health.

The Remedy helps broaden the definition of queer health. It includes stories by people who identify as asexual, bisexual, intersex and trans. These narratives are often left out of the conversation about queer health because they are grouped with gay and lesbian experiences. In addition, The Remedy recognizes the specific needs and health issues faced by queer and trans people of color and indigenous communities. Contributors tell their stories in various ways—through poetry, illustration, and essay. What unites all of the stories is that they are firsthand experiences, told by the people who are living them.

Reading this book was healing. Within its pages is evidence that queer and trans people are caring for each other. The book’s reoccurring “Innovation Profiles” are short chapters that document community projects like “The Q Card,” which is designed to fit in the pockets of queer and trans youth, containing information like pronouns, gender identity, and health conditions. Several contributors echoed Ariel Estrella’s sentiment that “my healing is not my own.” Margaret Robinson states, “When we build a supportive network of friends, family, and community, our health gets better.” The Remedy is part of a growing effort within queer and trans communities to lead the long-lasting and healthy lives that we deserve.

The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care
Edited by Zena Sharman
Arsenal Pulp Press
Paperback, 9781551526584, 272 pp.
November 2016

H. Melt photo

About: H. Melt

H. Melt is a poet and artist whose work proudly documents Chicago's queer and trans communities. Their writing has been published by many places including The Feminist Wire, The Offing, and Them, the first trans literary journal in the United States. They are the author of The Plural, The Blurring. H. Melt works at the Poetry Foundation and Chicago's feminist bookstore.

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