Gender transition made easier

Winnipeg’s Klinic to expand services

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday, June 12, 2015

The Manitoba government is implementing changes that continue to improve access to services for transgender Manitobans.

The number of recognized practitioners able to conduct patient assessments for gender dysphoria will be increased, along with increased funding for the Transgender Health Program at Klinic Community Health Centre and the introduction of coverage for chest masculinisation surgeries.

“People who don't identify with their biological sex and strongly identify with the opposite gender need timely access to quality care and services to help them transition,” said Healthy Living and Seniors Minister Deanne Crothers. “We're increasing access to care, providing more funding and adding coverage to make it easier for people going through the gender transition process.”

Three additional staff at Gender Dysphoria Assessment and Action for Youth (GDAAY) in Winnipeg will now provide patient assessments of gender dysphoria as a means to establish eligibility for insured transgender services for those 17 years of age and under.  This brings the total number of clinicians who can provide these services in Manitoba to five from two. 

The province will continue to develop a formal process to approve additional practitioners and will engage the Transgender Health Coalition for their advice and expertise as this work moves forward. These changes will ensure better access to gender transition surgery for Manitobans, said Crothers.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is working with the province to provide an additional $150,000 in funding to Klinic to help transgender Manitobans get access to care sooner. The program was established in 2010 and remains one of only a few of its kind in Canada. It has helped approximately 377 individuals since that time, including 294 current clients.

“Expanding care at Klinic to better serve the transgender community is an important step forward,” said Lori Lamont, interim CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.  “The Winnipeg health region is dedicated to patient-centred care, and this additional contribution to Klinic and the expansion of services to transgender clients helps us offer the most appropriate care needed during the gender transition process in a more comprehensive and timely way.”

“Klinic is thrilled to see these new investments and progressive changes to how transgender health is supported in Manitoba,” said Nicole Chammartin, executive director of Klinic Community Health Centre. “We believe this is a critical step in ensuring equitable and accessible health care for all.”

Crothers also said chest masculinization surgery related to gender transition is now an insured service under the provincial health insurance plan, ensuring those seeking top surgery can obtain a male-appearing chest. Currently, the Manitoba government provides coverage for other gender transition surgeries including orchidectomies (removal of testicles), penectomies (removal of the penis), vagioplasties (reconstruction of the vagina), mastectomies (removal of breast tissue), hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) and oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries). 

“Our government is proud to increase supports for transgender Manitobans,” said Health Minister Sharon Blady. “We encourage transgender Manitobans and everyone in our province to embrace who they are and to seek help when they need it to help reduce incidents of depression and suicide. Access to quality, compassionate care is essential to a smooth transition and the ability to live life to the fullest.”

In January 2015, the province adjusted the process to change gender on birth registrations and certificates by removing the requirement for proof of gender transition surgery.

Source: Province of Manitoba

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