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Queer and Trans roots at Six Degrees

Pillars of Our Shared Work #8

The Communities that Make Us 

Happy Belated Pride! 2016 has been an incredibly impactful year on many fronts for the Queer and Trans communities, especially in Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous and communities of colour -- the change making Black Lives Matter Toronto actions, the tragedy in Orlando, the deaths of more trans women of colour, and the endless community building that happens when we ache and when we unite.

Being Queer and Trans means many things to us at Six Degrees.  Susanda and I have unique and overlapping experiences of resilience, pride, oppression and community.  We came together through our Queer Health practitioner community and with a shared vision of a health centre that offers effective health services to many communities; Queer, trans, cis, bi, straight, poly, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, white folks, people with pain, struggle, anxiety, grief, digestive illness, as many people as possible.

As Community Acupuncturists we owe so much to our own and other communities of colour that are at the roots of the revolutionary foundations of community acupuncture and Queer & Trans liberation and, of course, the common ways of practicing Acupuncture in China.  We hope you use the links here to learn more about Queer and Trans communities, the Black, Puerto Rican and White revolutionary roots of Community Acupuncture and the common Chinese ways of offering Acupuncture and get informed about why we do what we do.

As people who experience oppression, we intimately know the impact it has on ourselves and the people we care for and build family and community with.  We know that how hatred works to create illness in many ways, and access to healthcare should be for everyone, not excluded to anyone, ever.  Still, we know we are not accessible to anyone for whom the stairs at the front door are a barrier.  We know that we do not meet everyone's needs, and we hope that as we grow, as we work with more practitioners and teach them how we do community acupuncture, the services we offer from Six Degrees can extend further into the communities whom we are yet to reach because of accessibility issues. That we can go into community more while also maintaining the space on Spadina for people to come to us.

This vision is rooted in the histories we carry and those that are shared with us through the people we connect with.  We do not do this alone, we do this with each of you and with every ancestor and spirit connected to us and those we don't know.  We continue to learn more about how we do this with the land we are on.

We build Six Degrees with a vast community of workers, practitioners and clients.  We serve many communities and we hope to always be a health hub that offers the opportunity to share space and heal with many different people in ways that raise us up rather than push us down.  We are committed to health, we are mentored by the people who have gone before us to demand space, to demand rights, people who have risked and lost their lives for the freedom we walk with today.  It is never so simple as a small article in a newsletter, and we are committed to growing and aligning with the communities we serve and are a part of.

We offer gratitude and commitment to the people who make it possible for Six Degrees to be what it is and what it is becoming.  The land we are on, the Anishnaabe, Huron-Wendat and Haudoneshonee people of this land, the Chinese, Black, Puerto Rican and White roots of the NADA protocol which became a root of how Community Acupuncture is practiced today and the Queer and Trans Women of Colour who kickstarted the liberation at the Stonewall Inn.  We thank all the people who have made Six Degrees in the past 9 years and we acknowledge the hard work, effort and energy that everyone offers in their way as they come through the doors every day.

Being rooted, in part, in Queer and Trans communities, means we understand oppression in some way. It also means we know community, we know love and unity, we know that mistakes are made, that violence can move sideways, that we need healing to build justice and that we need everyone to "get it" and learn with humility in order for all of us to have freedom.  Our commitment is to your health and ours, to our collective liberation and to a present and future that does as little harm as possible.

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