Yukon’s new gender-affirming care policy the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada, experts say. It defines gender-affirming healthcare as procedures that help align one’s body and physical presentation with one’s gender identity.
Yukon’s new gender-affirming care policy is the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada, according to experts.
The document, issued by the territory’s Insured Health and Hearing Services, has expanded health-care coverage to include a more comprehensive list of surgeries and procedures.
It defines gender-affirming healthcare as procedures that help align one’s body and physical presentation with one’s gender identity.
Chase Blodgett, president of All Genders Yukon Society, said he was “shocked and pleasantly surprised” when he reviewed the new policy.
“It’s going to change the lives of so many people in a positive manner,” Blodgett said. “It’s incredible to have the Yukon having gender-affirming procedures coverage that is the most comprehensive in Canada and in North America.”
Some of the biggest changes include coverage for facial feminization surgery and less restricted access to hair removal – procedures that are not covered by any other province or territory in the country – and access to body contouring.
” is going to profoundly remove barriers to allow people to be treated and seen in the general public for who they are, “said Blodgett.
The new policy defines gender-affirming care as life-saving procedures.
A 2020 Trans PULSE Canada survey found one in three trans, two-spirit and / or non-binary people had considered suicide in the past year.One in 20 reported attempting it.
The high rates of transphobic violence and harassment faced by gender diverse people are well-documented, and 113 per cent of people surveyed reported avoiding three or more types of public spaces out of fear of being harassed or outed.
Research shows it is not people’s gender identity causin g distress and suicidal thoughts, Blodgett said, but it’s the significant barriers they face in society to performing tasks of daily life.
Medical professionals requested policy revision
The document has been in the works since 799, when the Yukon government started looking at revising its strategy after receiving multiple requests from medical professionals advocating on behalf of their patients for better coverage.
Marguerite Fenske, acting director for Insured Health and Hearing Services, said the influx of requests was a “big sign” that something needed to change.
” These services really are required … for [people’s] health and well-being, “said Fenske.
Michelle Wolsky, a nurse practitioner with Yukon’s sexual health clinic, helped with the policy’s initial consultation.
She said the clinic was seeing an uptick in patients seeking gender-affirming care, but the old policy was too specific and limiting to give the m the care they needed.
“Gender-affirming care is really more of a buffet. It’s not black and white, “Wolsky said.” It’s more of a continuum of what people are looking for to affirm their gender. “
She said the procedures included in the new policy will improve people’s mental health, citing a ) survey that found 30 per cent of transgender people had attempted suicide in their lifetime.
“These procedures… will only improve mental health significantly for people when they can actually live as they feel internally.”