Wednesday • 2011.05.25
While PC Financial Fails Discrimination Test, TD Takes Active Steps to Support Trans Youth
TD Canada Trust just announced a brand new Trust Scholarship for Transgender Youth. (related post on Egale’s blog). While President’s Choice Financial fails spot-check tests for transgender discrimination, it’s nice to see another banking company step up, taking active steps to directly support trans youth.
“The process started about a year ago,” said Jeffery White, head of Toronto’s Triangle Program, an alternative school for LGBTQ youth. “(TD) approached myself and (The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto) to see what more they could do to support the LGBTQ communities. We all decided that Transgender folks (were still being) marginalised, and needed continued and ongoing supports.”
The new scholarship is a joint venture between TD, Triangle, and MCC, with TD Canada Trust putting up the funding. In its inaugural year, it is available only to students in the Toronto District School Board. White said next year, TD plans to roll it out across the Province of Ontario, “and hopefully one day across Canada,” he suggested. “TD Canada Trust has been doing great work in our communities,” White observed.
Of course, TD Canada Trust has been a significant sponsor of Toronto’s annual Pride festival for several years now. Their position in support of the LGBTQ community (as well as other disadvantaged groups) is clearly documented on the Community Diversity page on the TD corporate website.
Reaction to the new scholarship from the community has been very positive. “How awesome is that? Pretty awesome is the answer you’re looking for,” said one representative of a trans youth drop-in program I spoke to.
The scholarship’s application form, bearing the corporate logo and colour scheme of TD Canada Trust, asks for “Preferred Salutation,” giving options of “Mr,” “Ms,” “None,” and “Other,” with a blank space to fill in. The form does not ask for sex or gender, “legal” or otherwise. The form also draws the distinction between “Preferred/Public” name, versus “Legal” name– and it includes fields for both. It is this writer’s opinion that clearly much care and consideration has been taken to respect the needs of the trans community in this instance.
This year the award totals $2,500, and to be eligible, one must be a transgender or transsexual student who is in their last year of high school, or their first year of post-secondary education. Application forms (in English and French) are available for download on a post at Egale’s website, and will soon also be available on the Triangle Program website.