The province is bringing gender-affirming surgery for trans people closer to home after an announcement made Friday.
“There are, of course, a whole range of surgical procedures that help people live their life to the fullest in our province and these surgeries include gender-affirming surgeries that are medically necessary for some gender diverse and transgender people,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“People in the trans community have advocated for many, many years for improved access to gender-affirming surgeries within BC, and while these surgeries are publically funded and have been since the 1980s for many access has been a barrier. For those seeking lower surgery, people have been required to go to Montreal or even out of the country as far as Austin, Texas.”
“I’m pleased to announce that BC will be the first province in Western Canada where trans and gender diverse people will have access to publicly funded gender affirming lower surgeries within their home province.”
Dix said the number of people traveling out of province for lower surgeries has been steadily increasing each year with approximately 100 people going out of B.C annually.
He says the program will be up and running within Vancouver Coastal Health in 2019.
“This means that people can stay closer to home and have their support systems of families, friends, and loved ones nearby which can help reduce the stress and costs involved.”
Trans people will also receive improved access to publicly funded gender affirming chest and breast surgeries. Nine additional surgeons have received specialist training and have begun offering these services in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Prince George.
The expanded access to gender-affirming surgery according to a news release is part of the provincial government’s new B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy, which is supported with ongoing targeted funding of $75 million from the Ministry of Health in 2018-19 and increasing to $100 million in 2019-20.
An estimated 46,000 people identify as trans or gender diverse in BC.