Open Letter Sask Health

To whom it may concern

I am a woman who was Assigned Male At Birth (AMAB), as such I have masculine traits leading to many psychologically damaging effects. I, like many other people in the trans community, do not have access to the money required to feel safe in my own body or behind my own face.

There are options to get government funding for Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS), or more commonly called Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS), to help with what is commonly called bottom dysphoria. However funding is only reimbursed for about 30% and there are no government funded options for other necessary and frequently life saving surgeries. This needs to change.

Gender Identity Disorder is a life threatening condition that affects anywhere from 0.1 to 3% of the world population. There are gatekeepers in place in many countries around the world for any person who identifies with a trans identity which blocks them from receiving any treatment they feel necessary. These gatekeepers may be society, family and friends, doctors, money, time, or any other of the countless barriers. Removing these barriers will save lives.

The rate of suicide in the trans community is significantly higher than the cis community. As the gatekeepers create roadblocks, they make the future look unreachable. As a result the amount of trans people who are refused housing is significantly higher than cis people. Social agencies judge people based on how masculine or feminine they look and this is a barrier that prevents them from accessing shelter and security. The amount of trans individuals who are attacked or even raped is significantly higher than the cis population, this is because of ignorance, anger, discrimination, and a list of other things. Trans individuals have a higher risk of becoming sex workers, in order to afford the shelter they have been refused, the medication they may need to be themselves, or even food.

Funding for SRS is a step to help prevent some of the issues many trans individuals face, however that funding does not cover travel and recovery. Not all people who identify as trans seek SRS as that type of dysphoria affects them differently than others. Some people seek breast augmentation, which is not covered. Some may seek a mastectomy, hysterectomy or orchiectomy, which are covered. Some seek what is commonly called Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS), which may be one or many surgeries performed to feminize the face, none of which are covered. Some seek Larynx surgeries to change the pitch of there voice, which is not covered. Some seek hair removal, which is not covered. Many seek Hormone Replacement Therapy, which has various degrees of coverage.

Today I ask you for more coverage for life saving surgeries and treatments. More funding for trans individuals will help prevent things like suicide and homelessness while adding more security for people in the trans community. For many it is not a question of “if” they are going to commit suicide it is “when.” It is not a question of “am I going to be homeless?” it is “when will I next have a bed and or meal?” It is not a question of “is this Jon going to be safe?” it is “I hope I am not hurt tonight.” It is not a question of “am I going to be attacked in public?” it is “how will I get away?”

No one regardless of the gender identity, expression, or any other factors should have to ask themselves these questions. Please do your part to ensure that those individuals who identify somewhere on the trans spectrum are treated with the full dignity and respect they deserve.