To Our Allies: Two Ways To Help
(The following is particular to Albertans. While we appreciate support from out-of-Province, the people we need to respond need must be constituents. If you know Alberta residents who would be willing to support, please forward this to them)
I greatly appreciate the desire of our allies to support the trans community now, in the time of our need. One way to assist would be to distribute the following letter (attached in text form after the fold) far and wide to all Albertans as a plea for them to lend us support and encourage the Alberta Government to reconsider the delisting of Gender Reassignment Surgery.
A second is to call your MLAs (http://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=mla_home), and call the people on the Standing Policy Committee on Health (list follows). Let them know that Albertans everywhere support the funding of GRS surgery, and oppose taking the Province into another embarrassing and potentially expensive and unwinnable conflict:
Fred Horne (PC, Edmonton-Rutherford, Committee Chair), Bridget A. Pastoor (LIB, Lethbridge-East), Cal Dallas (PC, Red Deer-South), Jonathan Denis (PC, Calgary-Egmont), Kyle Fawcett (PC, Calgary-North Hill), Rachel Notley (ND, Edmonton-Strathcona), Verlyn Olson (PC, Wetaskiwin-Camrose), Dave Quest (PC, Strathcona), Raj Sherman (PC, Edmonton-Meadowlark), Kevin Taft (LIB, Edmonton-Riverview), Tony Vandermeer (PC, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview).
Thank you very much for your assistance!
Alberta Transgender Resources: http://www.albertatrans.org/
My name is Mercedes Allen, and I’m a transsexual who is affected by the Alberta Government’s decision to delist funding for Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS). I am also a life-long Albertan and a taxpayer, and I’m affected on both sides, should a legal fight ensues over this matter.
Most of us, whether lifelong Albertans or from elsewhere in Canada, remember the last time the Province took an apparently unwinnable stand on a legal matter, the case of Delwin Vriend vs. Alberta, which proceeded through the 1990s and concluded in the Supreme Court of Canada in 1998 at a high cost (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vriend_v._Alberta). I’m not raising this with the intention to intimidate or brag — however, both Ontario and British Columbia have gone down this road before, delisted coverage, and then relisted in response to legal and human rights actions.
I know that as an Albertan, we are still poised to potentially lose far more than the $700,000 savings from the budget by going down this road, and that does affect me as well.
I make this appeal to you so that you might understand why the transgender community needs to fight this delisting in whatever means are available to us. The average Albertan sees GRS as a cosmetic procedure, when in reality, it is often a matter of life and death.
The American Medical Association (which restated its support as recently as June of last year), the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and all of the Canadian counterparts have recognized this, and have asserted GRS as a medically necessary part of the treatment of people with Gender Dysphoria. While Gender Dysphoria is currently classified as a mental health issue, it is increasingly being found to have a biological connection, suggesting that it may be a physical intersex-by-birth issue.
I invite people to visit www.AlbertaTrans.org and discover why GRS is in fact medically necessary. You are also invited to read and discover more about the reality of who transsexuals really are, more about the larger transgender community, and look past the many assumptions and myths that people commonly have about us.
For these reasons, I ask people to contact their MLAs (http://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=mla_home) and tell them that the people of Alberta would prefer to pay the 19 cents per person that the Province proposes to cut, instead of a potentially lengthy, expensive and perhaps unwinnable fight to deprive an already vulnerable and misunderstood community of its hope.