Posts Tagged ‘glbt issues’
Torontoist’s Erica Lenti reports on how Ontario is making transgender reassignment surgeries more accessible to the people who need it, actually covering them.
Marcel’s body does not match his gender identity. It’s a fact he has spent years contemplating, and a truth that has cost him thousands upon thousands of dollars to consolidate.
In 2010, at the age of 22, Marcel (whose name has been changed to protect his identity) came out as transgender. First, while still a student, he started hormone replacement therapy. The testosterone would help him build muscle, grow more body hair and lower the pitch of his voice. By 2012, he took a 9-to-5 job to supplement the cost of a bilateral mastectomy—a surgery that, when performed at a private clinic, can cost upwards of $6,000. His friends donated about a third of the money he needed for the procedure, and his sister helped out, too; the rest came out of his pocket.
The cost of a more intensive procedure, phalloplasty (better known as “bottom surgery”), was out of reach, fundraising friends or otherwise. That would have to be funded by the government.
Those in Ontario who seek to physically transition, like Marcel, are met with a figurative brick wall. As it stands, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto is the only institution in the province where transfolk can be assessed and recommended for surgery that is covered by government health insurance. With almost 1,200 on the waiting list for a referral, many wait on standby. Marcel was told he would have to wait at least two years to see a professional at CAMH.
The Ontario government is trying to change that. On November 6, health minister Eric Hoskins announced a proposal that would open up the assessment and referral process to 600 other qualified institutions. The proposal comes months after the province vowed to expand services beyond CAMH in order to shorten a wait list that has been growing at a rate of 100 names per month. Though it could be months before the proposal becomes legislation, it is a step forward in trans healthcare that has been a long time coming—one that is, for many, a matter of life and death.