Health Care Improvements For Transgender People in Ontario, Canada
March 22, 2016 at 5:00 AM
In November of last year (2015) there were exciting and much-needed proposed changes to the way in which Transgender people accessed care, such as SRS/GRS (Sex/Gender Reassignment Surgeries).
Luckily, these changes have since been implemented, and are now functioning.
Until recently, CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) in Toronto, Ontario was the only place in the entire province of Ontatio, that could refer Transgender patients for SRS/GRS. This meant that there was a MASSIVE wait list, and Transgender individuals has to wait as long as two years simply to secure a first (of several) appointments, then travel all the way to Toronto for each one. This was truly a living hell for trans people who needed access to surgery, and no doubt contributed to the depression and suicidal feelings of many.
Additionally to this, CAMH has a history of Transphobic practices, unethical conversion therapy, and declining surgeries for legitimate Transgender people who need them. They are not, and were not, a good or just, gatekeeper. If a Transgender person cannot access the surgeries they need, it also puts them at a heightened risk of harassment, assault, and even being murdered / targetted in transphobic hate crimes.
However, under the new changes, any physician in Ontario can be qualified to refer Transgender patients for SRS/GRS, cutting years off the wait times (however the wait for the surgery itself can still take years).
This is excellent news, and a big, much needed change, that will literally improve people's quality of life and reduce the amount of time a trans person lives in depression and dysphoria.
On a related, but more local subject, In Ottawa, Ontario, MtF Transgender people have had difficulty in the past, obtaining an endocrinologist who was able/willing to prescribe or monitor Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). This was a problem, as for a time, the only known Endocrinologist who did Trans HRT had retired, and there was no public knowledge, even among MDs, as to who to send people to. But then more recently, the government opened a facility in Ottawa that specifically helped Trans people access HRT. The wait times became incredible, 8-12 months, due to the high demand.
This solution is still in operation, via the Centretown Community Health Centre. If you need access to Hormone Replacement Therapy, get in touch with them at 613-233-4443 x2109. They are VERY professional, kind, informative, and so willing to help.
However, it has recently come to my attention there is an Endocrinologist in Ottawa who is willing to assess/administer HRT, without going through the Centretown Centre. Transgender patients should be able to have their family doctor refer them to Dr. Hasina Visram, an Endocrinologist in Ottawa, who can be reached at 613-680-9092.