People of KHSC: Issy Dunn
KHSC portraits of caring, commitment and compassion
Issy Dunn is recognized as a Kingston Health Sciences Centre employee by a typical ID badge but two small pins attached to the badge—a rainbow pride flag and a button reading “they/them”—also help to identify Issy as nonbinary (or genderqueer), a term for persons who don’t pigeonhole themselves as solely female or male.
Issy was assigned a female gender at birth but feels a nonbinary identity is a better fit, along with the use of “they/them” pronouns to reference themselves. They admit that the various identities and labels that fall under the LGBTQIA2S+ umbrella can be confusing and uncomfortable at times.
“For example, not everyone who is non-binary identifies as transgender but I do,” says the nursing student and Patient Mobility Aide.
“When I started at KHSC I had to decide if I would introduce myself to coworkers as nonbinary and to explain that I use different pronouns. I was worried that people might be transphobic. It was also tiring to come out to coworkers every day when you’re assigned to different units. At the same time, I’ve been a patient at KHSC and know it can be difficult and harmful when your preferred name and pronouns aren’t used.
“I figured that there are likely trans, nonbinary employees and patients who would appreciate having other nonbinary persons be more visible. So I started wearing my pronoun pin, which makes me feel more validated and not always perceived as a woman. It’s a way of explaining myself to people.”
Already active in local transgender groups, Issy also joined the KHSC Pride Committee to help infuse pride spirit and events across the organization.
“Outside KHSC I hear the positives and negatives about health care and the LGBTQIA2S+ community in Kingston. Any steps that KHSC takes towards being more accepting and celebratory of LGBTQIA2S+ persons are really necessary and exciting. It’s important that the hospital is a safe space for queer people, whether they’re here to work or to receive care.
“I feel privileged to help make change happen. I feel like my right self is in the right place at the right time.”