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Lora M. Patton. Community and Legal Aid Services Programme, Osgoode Hall Law School, & Critical Disability Studies, York University

“These Regulations Aren’t Just Here to Annoy You”1: The Myth of Statutory Safeguards, Patient Rights and Charter values in Ontario’s Mental Health System

Ontario’s Mental Health Act (MHA) is replete with statutory safeguards established to protect patient rights and allow the invasive powers granted to physicians to comply with Charter values.  Despite the substantive protections in place, rights violations occur with disturbing regularity and little is available by way of remedies for persons within the system.  This incongruence suggests that while some value is attached to ensuring persons identified as “mad” are legally protected on paper, the actual law (as defined by the day-to-day operation) dehumanizes and devalues persons with difference.

This presentation outlines the legal protections established under the MHA and the judicial and administrative decisions that confirm the importance of those protections to the rights of individuals within hospitals.  Three case studies are reviewed in detail.  The outcomes of the cases demonstrate that this “mad law” creates significant inequalities of personhood – depending on whether one is seen as mentally healthy or otherwise.

( Dr. Eric Foreman speaking to Dr. Gregory House HOUSE, M.D.  “1x18: Babies & Bathwater”, Original Airdate on FOX: April 19, 2005.  Downloaded from online script at: http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/house/season1/house-118.htm

Andrea Daley. Social Work, York University

The Reconfiguration of Queer/Lesbian Sexuality by Service Provider Responses to Self-Disclosures

Research is increasingly exploring the self-disclosure experiences of queer/lesbian women during their interactions with health care professionals. While self-disclosure has been associated with increased comfort and better communication, it may also increase the likelihood of homophobic victimization and discrimination during health care interactions. The majority of literature, however, has been conducted in relation to primary health care settings with less attention to self-disclosure within the context psychiatric and mental health service settings. The purpose of this study was to explore the sexuality-related psychiatric and mental health service experiences of queer/lesbian women. Participants’ experiences and insights suggest that service provider responses to women’s self-disclosures construct queer/lesbian sexuality as: 1) an illness or symptom of illness; 2) a cause of illness; and/or 3) being caused by trauma. Using Judith Butler’s theory of performitivity I will explore how service provider responses contest and reconfigure women’s performances of queer/lesbian vis-à-vis their self-disclosure narratives, and in doing so, negate women’s subjective experiences of sexuality.

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