Transgender issues: Ontario allowing health-care providers to give referrals for SRS

800px-Drapeau_de_lOntario_-_Ontario_flag_(5625479477)Dianne Skoll
LGBT Perspectives columnist

OTTAWA — The Ontario government is giving the green light to local health-care providers to give referrals for sex-reassignment surgery.

Currently, to be approved for OHIP coverage for SRS, patients have to go through the Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

The waiting time between application and approval can range from 24 to 30 months. Additionally, patients must travel at their own expense to Toronto for a qualifying interview with CAMH staff. For many transgender people, this is an extreme financial and emotional hardship. Providing referrals locally will dramatically reduce both the cost and the wait time.

SRS is not for everyone, but it can be a life-saving medical intervention for those who need it.

After the bad news from Houston this week — in which the majority of people voted to deny equal rights to LGBT people there after a bathroom scare campaign targeting transgender people — it makes me all the more appreciative of Ontario’s progressive attitude toward LGBT people.

For all the difficulties transgender people face, we in Ontario are quite fortunate.

(Photo: Ontario flag, from Wikimedia Commons)

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