By: Ellaha Salehy
Yukon recently took a progressive leap and extended health care coverage to include more surgeries and procedures, most notably including changes to the body to match an individuals’ identity. According to CBC, this seems to portray Yukon as a more socially progressive territory than the provinces and signals growth for Canada as a whole. Some of these procedures include facial feminization, voice therapy, and vocal surgery.
“[This policy] is going to profoundly remove barriers to allow people to be treated and seen in the general public for who they are,” said Chase Blodgett (president of all genders Yukon society). The policy states that these gender-affirming procedures are identified as life-saving. In 2020, a Trans Pulse Canada survey showed that one in three trans, two-spirit, and non-binary people considered suicide, and one in twenty reported attempting it.
Yukon showed that they cared about all genders and gender equality and did something about it. The territory’s government had been working on the policy for two years, and there will continue to be changes to the notion. Currently, in other parts of Canada and the United States, mental health for transgender and LGBTQIA2S+ people has been at an all-time low due to the expenses of the procedures. They only want to be themselves, and the only thing standing in between them and being happy with their bodies is the cost of the operations. Because of the suicide and mental illness rates, it is clear that something needed to change in this regard, and the best action that the government can take at the moment is this policy.
This demonstrates political significance because many government officials were involved in creating and applying the policy. Yukon is the first province to implement this, and hopefully, there will be more to come. “Yukon has been a trailblazer … and continues to be one with this policy. This policy has placed itself well ahead of the rest of the provinces and territories in Canada.” said Dr. Michael Marshall, President of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health.
Canada’s citizens continue to make earnest attempts to raise awareness about gender non-conforming and transgender people in the past year on different social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram. These efforts have caught the attention of notable politicians, and change is on the horizon. The decision to implement this policy is a turning point in LGBTQIA2S+ history and shows that Yukon’s political leaders recognize that change must happen. The impact this will have on this community is grand and will make many people happier and more confident in the long term. Yukon’s policy allows people to be who they are and feel true to themselves. Over time, more provinces and territories will hopefully implement a similar approach and help everyone feel safe, just as Yukon has done.
D’Entremont, Danielle. “Yukon’s New Gender-Affirming Care Policy Is Most Comprehensive in CANADA, Experts Say .” CBC News, 18 Mar. 2021, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-s-new-gender-affirming-care-policy-is-most-comprehensive-in-canada-experts-say-1.5953126. Accessed 18 March 2021.