Lack of transgender policy leading to healthcare delays in Yukon, says advocate
Yukon's health care 'woefully inadequate' for transgender people, says Chase Blodgett
An advocate for transgender and gender nonconforming people says the Yukon Government's lack of clear and comprehensive transgender policies is leading to unacceptably long delays in the territory's healthcare system.
"In terms of healthcare, I would rank [the Yukon] as woefully inadequate," said Chase Blodgett, the founder of All Genders Yukon.
"We don't have any policies, and we don't have any doctors who are trained by the World Professional Association For Transgender Health."
With no set policy, Blodgett says it often feels like the government and doctors are "making it up as they go along."
In 2015, Dan Cable with Yukon's justice department, told CBC it was the government's policy to treat transgender concerns on a case-by-case basis.
Blodgett says that ad hoc approach does not work. For him, it meant a one and half year delay on his top surgery as he tried to navigate the jurisdictional maze between health care service in Yukon, where he lives, and British Columbia, where he had his surgery.
Blodgett said that delay had serious physical and mental health ramifications, and the stakes are even higher for transgender youth.
"The minute their hormone levels begin to spike, they need to be on hormone blockers so they don't go through puberty that accords with the wrong gender," said Blodgett.
"You can't be waiting two years when it comes to a kid going through puberty. You have to have that care plan in place."
Despite some positive movement, like a transgender man recently being allowed to change his Yukon driver's licence to reflect his gender identity, the director of human rights at the Yukon Human Rights Commission, says transgender people in the territory continue to face discrimination.
"Transgender Canadians, including Yukoners, continue to experience violence, homelessness and mental health issues at rates that far exceed the general population," said Jessica Thompson.
"When governments recognize that reality, as they have done in the Yukon, it is imperative that they act."