Canadian Medical Association Calls For Taxpayers To Fund Cosmetic “Enhancements” For Transgender People

Natasha Biase

Doctors from The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) have published an editorial suggesting that taxpayers should foot the bill for even more aesthetic procedures for transgender individuals.

The editorial was published in the peer-reviewed Canadian Medical Association Journal on August 14, and was authored two members from the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. According to the paper, which was titled “Minimally invasive procedures in gender-affirming care: the case for public funding across Canada,” aesthetic enhancements such as facial fillers should be taxpayer funded for transgender individuals.

As it presently stands, a great deal of cosmetic procedures are already taxpayer-funded in Canada. After being referred by a doctor, transgender individuals can access surgeries such as vaginoplasties, mastectomies, and breast augmentations for free depending on their province of residence. But other aesthetic enhancements, such as tracheal shaving, facial feminization, and laser hair removal, are not covered.

In the paper, the authors stress that the transgender community in Canada “continues to face systemic discrimination and barriers to access in care,” and that it is “important to consider how to optimize the care of patients who are transgender and gender diverse.”

The authors propose that publicly subsidizing procedures to improve “facial aesthetics” and other body goals would “compensate for delays in accessing surgical and medical gender-affirming care.”

Despite access to gender-affirming care increasing over the past few years, the CMJ also highlights findings from a 2021 survey that shows transgender people “who received nonsurgical facial injectables reported greater self-esteem, a more positive body image, greater gender congruence and less anticipated discrimination from others than people who did not.”

Notably, the editorial concludes with an acknowledgement from the authors recognizing that although they are both “cis-gendered women,” they have transgender and gender-diverse patients.

The suggestion to have taxpayers fund even more cosmetic interventions for transgender individuals has been met with backlash on social media.

On X (formerly Twitter) one user who goes by the handle @xxclusionary, sparked a conversation on the CMA editorial, posting details from the paper while using a photo of transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney recovering from a recent facial feminization surgery.

Many users who responded to @xxclusionary‘s thread pointed out that it was discriminatory of the government to cover cosmetic procedures for only one subset of people.

“Yet women with botched plastic surgery can’t get help? Women after children experience many horrible symptoms like LBL and [diastasis] recti,” user @Bratt_world wrote. “I would love a free breast lift and implants,” she joked.

“This is ridiculous? If this passes then I’m identifying as a woman who never had babies! I want a free boob job and a free tummy tuck because having 3 pregnancies with a set of twins and nursing my babies has caused my body to change in ways I don’t like,” user Michelle Phillips wrote.

Others noted that the wait times for even surgeries deemed medically-necessary were extremely long, and questioned government priorities.

“Patients [are] non-functional while waiting for hernia surgery and hip replacement. Over 1 year wait in my province. Strange priorities in 2023,” one user said.

According to a report released by the Fraser Institute in December of 2022, wait times for patients to access specialist medical care have been increasing in Canada.

Specialists surveyed reported that the median wait time between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment was approximately 27.4 weeks, up from 25.6 weeks in 2021.

According to the Institute, which has conducted the survey on an annual basis for decades, the 2022 wait time was “the longest wait time recorded in this survey’s history and is 195% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.”

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