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Gender-confirming surgeries made insured service for New Brunswickers

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WATCH ABOVE: The New Brunswick government has announced it will make medically necessary gender-confirming surgeries an insured service. Global’s Andrew Cromwell reports – Jun 3, 2016

The province of New Brunswick has announced it will make medically necessary gender-confirming surgeries an insured service in the province.

The province will also allow transgender individuals to change their birth certificates to match their gender identities.

READ MORE: Saint John transgender woman fighting province to change gender marker on ID

“Transgender persons living in New Brunswick are facing challenges in life and in the health-care system,” Health Minister Victor Boudreau said in a release.

“Gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition that, left untreated, can result in high levels of anxiety and depression, which can lead to suicidal thoughts.”

Boudreau acknowledged the New Brunswick Transgender Health Network for working with the government on the issue.

New Brunswick was the last province in Canada not to provide any coverage for gender reassignment procedures.

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

Moncton transgender rights activist Michelle Leard has been leading the charge to secure the funding.

She and members of the New Brunswick Transgender Health Network met with Boudreau in September to discuss the issue.

“Gender-affirming surgery is a crucial part of a successful transition for many transgender people,” Leard said.

“Today’s announcement will change the lives of transgender New Brunswickers who are presently facing challenging health, mental health and social situations.”

Boudreau says the provincial government will amend General Regulation 84-20 under the Medical Services Payment Act to make gender-confirming surgeries an insured service under Medicare.

Legislation will be introduced this fall to amend the Vital Statistics Act to allow transgender individuals to change their birth certificate to match their gender identities.

READ MORE: NB Transgender woman reveals her battles and triumphs of her journey

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