Clearer path to surgery needed for transgender people: UBC study

Authors recommend training more surgeons and doctors

Transgender people face fewer barriers to gender reassignment surgery than they did in the past, but the steps they need to take to get there are still not clear, a UBC study suggests.

The study, released Tuesday by the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre, surveyed 337 transgender Canadians and held in-depth interviews with 35 people in B.C. who had received a readiness assessment for surgery or had already had the surgery.

Sixty per cent of respondents had to travel two or more hours to have surgery, often leading to increased complications. Most patients also had to pay their own aftercare and travel costs.

Currently, publicly funded chest or breast surgeries are mostly available only in Vancouver and Victoria, while lower body surgeries are only available in Montreal, or outside of Canada.

According to study author Elizabeth Saewyc, a UBC nursing professor, many primary care physicians lack the necessary training to direct patients or provide aftercare.

But even before surgery, patients often face long, confusing delays. Forty per cent of respondents found it difficult to find a doctor who could clear them for surgery. The patients said wait times of five months to a year were common.

Patients with a body mass index of over 35 are not eligible for surgery through Trans Care BC – a barrier the organization has said it is working to fix.

There were positives in the study results. Half of the participants did not have to pay for their assessment appointment and nearly two-thirds of patients had their surgery funded entirely by government healthcare.

The study authors focused their recommendations on a clearer, more streamlined path to surgery. To reduce travel and wait times, the study recommended training more assessors and surgeons in different regions of the province, as well as providing assessments by video.

It also recommended that the province educate primary care physicians on helping patients navigate the system both before and after surgery.

Just Posted

Global climate strike makes its stand in Terrace

Approximately 50 people rallied in front of city hall to bring awareness to climate change

Bear shot by police in Stewart neighbourhood, residents say

Gunshots were heard in the dark, alarming and angering neighbours

Skeena Voices | Walking between two parallel roads

Lynn Parker found knowledge a powerful tool for reconciliation

Terrace Community Forests harvests $750k for City of Terrace

Money was given in recognition of National Forest Week

Coast Mountain College opens new health and wellness centre in Terrace

College’s eventual goal is to open up the gym and programming for public use

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read