In my WordPress profile I state that I enjoy upsetting apple carts on occasion. At the time I write this, I have no idea if this cart will topple or fall back onto its wheels, but I’ll keep you informed. The name on this particular apple cart is “Ministry of Health and Long Term Care” under the control of Dr Eric Hoskins, who is the Minister of Health etc for the Province of Ontario and the lever I am using to tip this particular cart is the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. As I wrote above, as I type this, I have no idea whether the Tribunal will say “yes” or “no”.
Under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), breast augmentation is classed as cosmetic surgery and as such is not covered. I felt this was discriminatory and therefore filed a human rights complaint on the basis of discrimination based on gender identity. My argument is this:
For myself, and no doubt many other trans*women, breast augmentation isn’t really a cosmetic procedure, but rather a psychological necessity. Whether we elect to have GRS or not, we are living as women and if we are fortunate enough to live in Ontario can change our birth certificates (hence other documents) to reflect that. Breasts are perhaps the most visible sign of a person’s perceived gender. Being on oestrogen is no guarantee we will develop breasts. Therefore my view is that for trans*women, breast augmentation isn’t really cosmetic, but psychologically necessary for us to feel and present as women, rather than as “some guy in a dress”, which is still a common view of the trans* community.
In my submission I suggested applications could be controlled in a manner similar to that instituted for changing the gender on documents – a letter from an Ontario licenced medical practitioner stating that person “X” has been trans* for whatever number of years apply and the procedure is psychologically necessary. I also suggested OHIP could impose restrictions on the size of the augmentation. The cost of anything above a certain size would have to be borne fully by the patient.
As I wrote at the beginning, I have no idea if the Tribunal will accept or deny my complaint, but I’m hopeful. Either way, I’ll provide an update.
Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and boobs) too.