Long delays in changing sex weigh on the mental health of trans people

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Long delays in changing gender affect the mental health of trans people

Kim Fuery wishes there was more funding for gender reaffirmation surgeries and wishes they didn't have to be approved by gender clinic specialists.

The mental health of transgender people tends to deteriorate due to long delays and the demands placed on those who want to change sex.< /p>

Kim Fuery has known she's a trans person since she was a teenager. She came out of the closet a year ago and has been on the waiting list for genital surgery ever since.

She says her gender dysphoria is getting worse in addition, as well as his desire to transition.

In Alberta, in order to get genital surgery, you need two pre-approval letters from two licensed psychiatrists. As for torso surgeries, they require a doctor's letter.

The waiting time to access a clinic specializing in gender issues is about two years old.

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“[The desire to transition is] a gradual process, a kind of self-thinking, wishing, longing, craving until it burns.

— Kim Fuery

Lou-Ann Morin, member of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec, argues that once a person takes steps for surgery , it has a sense of urgency.

“They may have waited 15 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years. At that point, there is a sense of urgency, things have to go fast.

— Lou-Ann Morin, Psychologist

It's a very difficult time, the transition, before gender affirmation is complete. So that period can be painful because there are a lot of prejudices, people don't dare to assert themselves. Of course, everyone can't wait for it to be over, explains the psychologist.

She adds that transgender people often have more mental health issues than cisgender people before the operation, while afterwards they return to average.

After years of self-medicating to drown out her discomfort, Kim Fuery now turns to sports, art and community support, including Skipping Stones, which provides community, resources , tools to help trans people and their families through the transition.

As I often say, it's not hard to have a trans child, it's hard to be in a system that doesn't have a place for him, it's hard. #x27;What's hard is navigating the system, says Lindsay Peace, the organization's director.

Lindsay Peace is the CEO and co-founder of Skipping Stones. After her son that he was a trans person, she realized how little resources he had for people like him and their families and created the organization.

Between -time, Kim Fuery hopes that his operation will not take too long. I worry about the passage of time. My father died at 69, I am 52, she says.

She is considering turning to the United States or Thailand to access a service that she would pay for out of pocket.

The Ministry of Health of the United States. Alberta is offering one-time, lifetime funding to eligible Albertans who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and who meet program criteria to undergo phalloplasty, metoidioplasty or vaginoplasty.

For people living in Alberta, genital sex reassignment operations are only offered in Quebec, at the Montreal Metropolitan Surgery Center.

In an email, Emilie Potts, Director of the pre-postoperative organizational and clinical development of the Centre, affirms that the delays between the moment when the patients begin the procedures and the moment when they obtain their complete file, is beyond the control of the Center and can influence the waiting time for an operation.

Martin Giuffre is one of the only plastic surgeons doing chest surgeries for transgender people in Alberta.

As of last spring, 288 people were lined up to see him .

According to him, few doctors do this type of operation in the province because it does not pay enough for them.

The surgeons have been in negotiations with the Alberta government since 2017 to obtain better payments. It is a very slow and arduous process. We are not making much progress, says Dr. Giuffre.

Martin Giuffre is one of the only plastic surgeons who perform chest surgeries for transgender people in Alberta. The fact that this type of operation is less remunerated discourages surgeons from performing them.

In an email, Charity Wallace, spokesperson for the government, explains that things are not have not changed because you have to be very rigorous in order to ensure access to the best care while supporting a publicly funded health care system.

[The Province] conducts a thorough review of evidence, economic impact and clinical effectiveness to support the addition of new services, she adds.

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