Nova Scotia to fund sex reassignment surgery
Reversal of the government's previous stance on the issue
In a quick reversal, Nova Scotia has decided to fund sex reassignment surgery.
Last week, Health Minister David Wilson said there was a lack of high-quality research about the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of the surgery and the province would not pay for it.
"This decision really comes down to doing the right thing. That's why I'm glad to be able to do that today and make the announcement today," said Wilson.
But on Wednesday he said the province would pay for the procedure after he reviewed the medical evidence and the policies of other provinces that fund the surgery.
Parker Jackson, 21, was born a girl. He's now in the process of transitioning to life as a man.
"I feel cared about, you know?" said Jackson after hearing the news. "It's good."
On Tuesday, Jackson was wondering when he'd be able to afford the surgery he needed to complete his transition.
A double mastectomy and chest reconstruction can cost $10,000.
"It means that maybe I can start saving up for a car, you know. I'm really excited. It means that my life is going to get a lot easier," he said.
Nova Scotia is now the eighth province to fund gender reassignment surgery.
It comes with a price tag that ranges between $10,000 and $60,000, depending on the extent of the surgery involved in the transition.
Kevin Kindred, chair of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project, estimates that between six and eight Nova Scotians require the surgery each year.
NSRAP has been lobbying hard for this decision.
"Well I felt like it was a pretty good day for the LGBT community in Nova Scotia. A lot of people have really expressed some passionate views to the government on this issue and I think they've been heard," said Kindred.
Wilson said changing the rules in Nova Scotia is in line with human rights legislation adopted last Fall.
"When we do have legislation or policies in place that are hindering those individuals from moving, I think, forward and ensuring they gain access to the services they need, then we need to change that and that's what they did," he said.