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

Fog in Victoria affects at least four airlines

Oct. 23 is the fourth day in last week fog has cancelled flights

Athlete who survived head-on collision offers GameChanger award for women

Victoria woman competed in an Ironman two years after doctors told her she wouldn’t walk

PHOTOS: Bear fishes for salmon in Goldstream Park

Each fall thousands of vistors head to the park to watch the annual salmon spawn

Man convicted in 1978 Victoria killing dismissed of murder charges in U.S.

Tommy Ross Jr. expected to be released from Clallam County jail after 40 years behind bars

Video shows break-in at Saanich underground parking lot

Saanich Police are looking for two men caught on camera Monday night

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

B.C.’s natural gas supply could see 50% dip through winter due to pipeline blast

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Prince George on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe just missed joining them with a loss 3-1 to three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the United States in the 76-kg event

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic small-town B.C. restaurant

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

B.C. town’s mayoral race a tie, come down to luck of the draw

Harry Gough led incumbent Cindy Fortin by one vote on election night Saturday

Outdoor retailer MEC vows to boost diversity after online complaint

Mountain Equipment Co-op was criticized for perpetuating a white-only picture of the outdoors

Trump vilifies caravan, says he’ll cut Central American aid

Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border Sunday in southern Mexico.

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Most Read