Improving Care for Transgender, Gender-Diverse and Intersex Nova Scotians
The Province is working to improve healthcare for people, including transgender Nova Scotians, who have struggled to get the supportive healthcare they need.
Today, March 31, is International Transgender Day of Visibility, which began in 2009 and raises awareness of discrimination around the world. The government supports the transgender community and the eradication of transphobic hate.
“We want all Nova Scotians to feel safe coming to our healthcare system for the care they need, and we know that’s not always the case. We are working to help more Nova Scotians, including transgender and other gender-diverse people, get the care they need, in a supportive and accepting environment,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “I’d like to thank members of the community for working with us. There is still a great deal to be done, but we rely on their input and expertise to help guide us. We’ll keep listening and keep working to improve.”
Budget 2023-24 includes $1.7 million more in funding for gender-affirming surgeries, which will allow up to 380 people to receive surgery that helps their physical appearance align with their gender identity. Last year, 118 people received this surgery.
The budget also includes $368,000 in new funding to expand prideHealth across the province. PrideHealth supports primary healthcare for members of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) community. It also provides resources to Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health staff. The prideHealth budget will increase to $803,000 in 2024-25.
Last year, the Province removed the requirement to have a letter from a specialist included in applications for gender-affirming surgeries. This removed barriers and cut wait times for surgeries.
This spring, the Province will continue to improve the gender-affirming care policy and improve access to safe care for transgender and gender-diverse people. It will also create a strategy to guide this work in future years.
I’m pleased to see more funding in this budget to increase access to gender-affirming care and surgeries and to support the community. While I understand there is still much to do, things need to move faster and in a robust way to save lives.
Veronica Merryfield, founder, Cape Breton Transgender Network
- according to the 2021 census, 0.48 per cent of Nova Scotia’s population identifies as transgender or non-binary; it is estimated there are 4,895 transgender or non-binary people in the province, although this is likely underreported due to stigma
- the 2SLGBTQIA+ community makes up between 10 and 20 per cent of Nova Scotia’s population
- in 2022, the Province removed the gender requirement for physician billing and replaced it with “patient” to make the health system more inclusive
International Transgender Day of Visibility: https://ccgsd-ccdgs.org/trans-visibility/