New Brunswick’s transgender community frustrated by lack of coverage for gender reassignment surgery

New Brunswick transgender community tired of waiting
WATCH ABOVE: People from the transgender community are growing tired of waiting for the province to make a decision on which gender reassignment procedures it plans to cover. Shelley Steeves reports.

People from New Brunswick’s transgender community are growing tired of waiting for the province to decide which gender reassignment procedures it plans to cover.

New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that does not provide any coverage.

“Why should I have to be set back in life in order to have to pay for this stuff?” Moncton resident Lukas Cutts said.

Cutts has identified as male for as long as he can remember.

“For me it’s always been pretty clear cut.”

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In January, he grew tired of waiting for the province to decide when it will finally offer coverage for gender reassignment surgery. He went ahead and paid $7,000 for what he calls “top surgery.”

“We do understand that is has to be put into policy and that can take time but I think at this point we need something to move.”

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Transgender groups in the province have been collaborating with government since last year to come up with a list of gender reassignment surgeries they hope to see the province cover.

“It is still making its way through bureaucracy these things sometimes can take time,” Health Minister Victor Boudreau said.

WATCH: The barriers of getting gender reassignment surgery in Ontario.

Cutts believes it’s taking too long, he says a proposal was supposed to be included in the spring budget.

Even Boudreau admits the deadline he set himself has come and gone.

“What we wanted to do first off is look at what is being done in other provinces. We are the only province in Canada not offering some type of support so we wanted to look at what exists in other provinces and try to find something that would be the middle of the road,” Boudreau said.

He says the province simply can’t afford to cover every procedure.

“At this point anything is better than what we have right now because what we have right now is nothing,” Cutts said.

He said decisions need to be made soon because lives are on the line

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“You know it’s one of the conditions out there with the highest suicide rates.”

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Boudreau said a detailed list of which procedures the province plans to cover is in the works, but he won’t say when it will be presented to cabinet.

“I have given one deadline already and unfortunately missed it so I don’t want to give another one but I want to assure people that this is a priority for me. ”

“People’s lives don’t have to be this hard there is a solution and we know what that solution is and right now we are just trying to access that solution for our people,” Cutts said.