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Trans candidate makes Canadian history in Ontario

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Trans candidate makes Canadian history in Ontario

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Libertarian Christin Milloy would champion trans issues
In the suburban riding of Mississauga–Brampton South, Christin Milloy is making history as the first out trans candidate to run in a Canadian provincial election.

Aside from municipal elections, the only other out trans candidate was nominated in 2007 at the federal level in the riding of Quebec City, says trans activist Susan Gapka, chair of the Trans Health Lobby Group. At that time, activist and lawyer Micheline Anne Montreuil became the first out Canadian trans person ever to be nominated as an electoral candidate by a major political party, the NDP. But Montreuil didn’t make it to the end of the campaign. She claimed she was dropped because the NDP objected to her gender identity. The party said she was too confrontational during interviews.

Milloy, 27, is running for the Libertarian Party. She says one of her platform priorities is modernizing the process to change sex designation on a birth certificate. She says there are currently unnecessary and potentially harmful barriers for trans people if they want to change their birth certificates.
 
“We have a situation where the government is actually forcing trans people to mutilate their bodies,” she says. “There's a lot of bureaucracy in changing your sex designation in Ontario. For the birth certificate, which is issued by the province, proof of transsexual surgery is required. That's the exact phrase they use.”

The problem is, she points out, there is nothing in the package of government-issued forms that states clearly what exactly constitutes “transsexual surgery.”

Some trans people require only hormones, breast augmentation or a tracheal shave for their Adam’s apples, Milloy says. “So, if the person has a cooperative healthcare provider, the forms are signed and it goes through.”

But what about the trans person who passes without the help of the surgeon’s knife? Perhaps the hormones are successful? Milloy wonders, "Does this person have any hope under the law of changing their sex designation on their birth certificate?

"It's a huge point of discrimination that not a lot of people know about. I plan to fight for the rights of pre-operative and non-operative trans people. We deserve the same recognition as the rest of society.”

Gapka agrees. Loosening bureaucracy around sex designation on birth certificates is one of her group’s top priorities. The other priorities include amending the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and increase access to primary care, such as hormones, therapy and sex reassignment surgery (SRS).

“Surgery means different things to different people. Some people identify as genderqueer. It should be easier to change legal identity documents. You shouldn’t need surgery to do it,” Gapka says.

Milloy says she will also fight for increased coverage of SRS procedures. “SRS is simply not accessible to trans people in Ontario,” she says.  

SRS was first listed by OHIP in 1971, but then-premier Mike Harris cut the funding in 1998, Gapka explains. The procedure was relisted under the Ontario Liberals in 2008. At the time, the minister of health, George Smitherman, said eight to 10 people undergo SRS every year at a total annual cost of about $200,000.

But Milloy says there’s still a glaring problem when it comes to top surgery. Breast augmentation and removal is still not covered by OHIP. "For trans men who need to have their breasts removed, and for trans women, who, for whatever reason, maybe the hormones are not working and they need breast augmentation, [OHIP] says, 'No, it's cosmetic.'"

Milloy says it's an injustice that trans people must pay for top surgery out of their own pockets.

"SRS is just the actual genital reconfiguration,” she says. “[Top surgeries] are completely independent and separate surgeries."

She argues that the medical condition gynecomastia -- an intersex condition when non-trans men grow breasts -- is 100 percent covered by OHIP. "It's hormonal and considered a medical treatment. A man growing unwanted breasts is considered an indignity… Clearly the decision makers at OHIP acknowledge the fact that having non-gender appropriate breast configuration is an indignity and needs to be corrected medically. The same is true for trans people.”

Gapka agrees but says lobbying the government to cover breast augmentation is not a political priority. For Gapka, electrolysis of facial hair is the more urgent need. “We want the government to cover that and they haven’t yet.”

On trans health issues, Milloy acknowledges that she strays from the Ontario Libertarian Party’s platform, which states that publicly funded healthcare will slowly be “dismantled... Eventually everyone will be responsible for the full cost of their own healthcare." 

Milloy says the Libertarian Party is a completely “new approach to government.” Over time, she says, healthcare should eventually be put in the hands of the private sector. “Healthcare should be opened up to private companies for SRS. That will increase the access for people and lower costs.

"Libertarians believe that many problems in society can actually be solved by repealing legislation and making the government smaller,” she says. 

Milloy says her other platform priorities are eliminating the HST and taking alcohol sales out of the hands of the LCBO and handing it over to private businesses, such as convenience stores.    
 
 
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Comments

@, sort of but not legally, Stefanie
["Today, women can go out and get a 'boob job', there are no hoops to jump through for approval except normal health requirements,..."]
Breast Augmentation is not covered for any woman in Ontario be they born with transsexualism or not. So who ever has the money can get it done, without hoops.

Not to attack you but your name issue is something different in itself. Most people never view another person's B.C. So it seems that the only publicly seen system awaiting change is one's health card.

Right now one can have their drivers license corrected without surgery, which would mean it would reflect the person's core gender & name

I don't see your complaint or reasoning as that valid. Now if you were speaking about the cost to those living very low income to change their name, that would be a whole different matter. But I find it disingenuous to say "I'm not changing my name until everything is done because.."

Isn't that part of the process of living as your true self to receive funding? Working/volunteering/going to school/living as the new named person?

And sorry but I see very little positive in Milloy's party. A pay for everything yourself system would mean things being worse off for those who can least afford it.
I also saw nothing on their site relating to changing the policy for Birth Cert. Correction.

It would mean that what those fought for in Hogan would be for not as OHIP would be no more. Going the route of HMOs, as it is in the U.S. is dumb and hurts the poor, not helps.
Just ask the 10s of millions of people living there without health care or very limited health care where one must get permission from the HMO before being treated. Unlike here where the general public gets treated without asking if they can.

So what you'd see for everyone, I guess that equals everyone out (the wrong way), is everyone jumping through hoops in hope of getting the ok for basic medical support.

Fortunately Milloy ha
Identity: name vs gender marker mismatch
Cart before the Horse dilemma...
I agree that it is outrageous to insist person get what is considered optional 'bottom' surgery (genitalia), in order to have one's gender marker changed anywhere. Every transfemale is different and has differing personal needs on how comfortable they feel safe in passability and sociability (intimacy needs vary).
I 'pass' easily, but am in the dilemma of what comes first and what comes after without exposing myself as being anything but a woman(female). If I cannot change my gender marker, it would be an awkward exposure if I only could change my name... I don't want to have my female name associated with the 'M' gender marker I am currently stuck with. So, I must await SURGERY (which I cannot afford at all, and may still yet push out indefinitely while I wait for my body to hormonally feminize to its natural 'max'?) just so I can get a 'gender marker' correction on my legal documentation? This means I will have to maintain my 'male name' so it MATCHES the 'M' gender marker, and this too, is an awkward exposure of my mis-gender-marked past, what then?
The avenues for gender marker change should be such that there are no awkward 'name' vs 'gender marker' mismatches at any given time. It is risky to be exposed where our identity is openly askew of the 'norms'. I don't want to stand out as 'trans' anything, but want to blend into society so I can feel accepted and SAFE. Surgery is OPTIONAL, and varies with individuals; no one should be forced to have those surgeries, but rather they be optional for the individual situation.
Today, women can go out and get a 'boob job', there are no hoops to jump through for approval except normal health requirements, at least, relative to those in our situation, as transwomen, we cannot even get that via OHIP... just the inversed supposed 'indignity' for men with natural breast growth. I cannot afford even a 'boob job' to cover my inversed indignity (opposite to the man with boobs) OHIP hasn't help ye
Natural Physical conditions as 'Indignities'?
Natural Physical conditions as 'Indignities'?
Breasts will grow on anybody who responds to their own natural estrogen levels (for men, decline of testosterone is overshadowed by their own natural estrogen levels). Breast should NOT be a physical indignity on men, but is a byproduct of social ignorance of what is natural. And no one is going to ostracize a man for having breasts, as countless of maturing men grow them as a 'norm' by the millions, but each man is slightly different on the degree of breast growth as the age into their golden years. Some folks are a bit more 'curvy' than others, and that includes men, not just women. But this condition does not cause people to take a BAT OUT to bludgeon the individual with natural breast growth, even if on a male.
So, if such breast growth be considered an extreme social indignity, how much more so, for a transfolk for having developed genitalia out of alignment to 'social norms of acceptance' for the gender of that person? It isn't, just an indignity, it is a horror of the fear of social violence (both ostracism and physical violence to one's life).
Is that an indignity or not? To allow it to be unaddressed without great costs is a reflection of our society's ignorance to what is a matter of health, if not safety.
Trans-Females/Women are WOMEN, what of their safety in public places too?... on and on... so many health/safety matters to address for transfolks in political neglect.
CAMH: Reparative Therapy (gatekeeping)?
I have not gone through CAMH's 'reparative therapy' gatekeeping (arbiters of who can or cannot get treatment) at all but gone through Health Centers (Sherbourne/St Michael's Hospitals) help. But I must pay my way for both medication (not covered by OHIP) and probably for any needed surgery. Meanwhile, I am able to 'fit' in only superficially as I easily 'pass' but I cannot interact socially intimately without exposing my unaddressed genital non-conformance (risk ostracism/violence/ignorance/non-acceptance) if I were to seek a closer relationship. Otherwise, such relationships are near zero, unless at an non-sexual level. What life with no intimacies? It's no life at all. Maybe not worth living either, right?
If not NDP, then, Christin had to opt for Libertarian. Highly unlikely she could be accepted by either Liberal or Conservative if even NDP wouldn't accept her. I may not agree with Libertarian views, but I don't agree with any other party views either, but can only vote for parties based on issues/policies they support or champion. Down side of a political system where we cannot vote on issues, is that we must vote for candidates that may be for policies we want at the same time as policies we do not want.
I am glad at least one transperson with trans-positive championing rights/acceptance/health is in the electoral system rather than none.
As long as we, as transfolks have NO voice in the system, the rest of society will take the easy way out of voting according to their ignorance of unawareness of who we really are, or how we are left out of the system.
I do disagree with a privatization of our health system, it would only become tiered in a profit based structure, where those who have greater income (certainly not most transfolks) are able to afford treatment. Majority of transfolk are already currently out of the loop on trans-healthcare, and might only get as far as getting hormones, and gender expressing in real life BUT for their bodies no surgery, none.
Without Rights, there's NO HEALTH...
Without Rights, there's NO HEALTH...

Without recognizing our health needs, transfolks do not have options open but to resort to costly psychological hoops to jump through (barriers) in order to obtain needed hormonal treatments and any desired sex change re-alignment surgeries or any feminization surgeries (if needed). This is so we feel safe and accepted in our current society where without it we would NOT fit in and risk standing out for social ostracism if not violence... this is UNHEALTHY for us, if not out right dangerous. Need suicidal ideation be a normal part of transfolk life where one has no humanitarian paths to take? When will such options above be completely covered by OHIP? (past availability notwithstanding, if any)
Naive
Having read the quotes in the article, I have to say I am appalled and frightened. Equating surgery with mutilation if unequivocally offensive. Equating gender dysphoria with body dysmorphia is flat out wrong. To use the term body dysmorphia, you're going down the same road as Blanchards reviled autogynephilia. To trivialize transsexuality as nothing more than being fixated on what's between your legs... Christen owes trans people everywhere a serious apology. The solution for those who don't want surgery is to correct the law, not close the loopholes that give at least some trans people what they need.

Trans people have made gains in surgery accessibility in Ontario when SRS funding was reinstated. The coverage is there. Right now the problem is that trans people are required to go through one gatekeeper: CAMH. The province promised that they would certify other establishments to also serve as in that capacity, and then changed their mind.

Furthermore, the idea that trans people should be relying on insurance is mind boggling and laughable. All you have to do is look south of the border to see what kind of mess you get when you rely on insurance companies. There is a reason the phrase 'death by spreadsheet' was coined. Insurance companies care about profit, not you. The overwhelming majority of trans people can't afford insurance, whether because they can't get a decent job, or are unable to work at all. So this talk of dismantling public healthcare is nothing short of 'I got mine, F__k you!'. I like my socialized medicine just fine, thank you very much.

While there are a few good talking points, such as wanting to remove surgery as a requirement for changing sex designation, and for adding top surgery to supported OHIP procedures, the libertarian platform behind it scares me senseless and must not be supported.
I was just thinking
That he is better looking than that Bono girl.
Sensitive Terminology
The bottom line is that all trans people need support and liberty.

Those that need surgery should have it. As for those that do not wish it, they should still have the legal right to have their designation recognized appropriately in government according to the identity in which they live.

Shedding light on inequality and inequity is the necessary first step to tearing down those inequalities and inequities. Loopholes only help some; we need the system permanently rectified to work for all.

We as a community must move beyond the fractious practices of attacking and labelling eachother, and of defining ourselves ceaselessly into ever more distinctive and divisive political subcategories. We are all fighting for the same rights and freedoms here, there is nothing to be gained from tearing eachother down. That is what is desired by those that would oppose our freedom.

Please don't focus so hard on the individual words I am using (or apparently misusing, as the case may be) that you miss out on the overall message I am trying to send.

We all need the same rights now, and though we may live differently, I respect all of our differences-- even those which I have not yet come to fully understand. But I have an open mind, and I'm here to help. If my choices of words are imperfect, help me improve them so that I might convey our message better in the future. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Thank you all for your insight.
Trans - ient
There are Libertarians in Canada? When did this happen. Might I suggest they take some courses in history, politics, and economics and return to the real world.
termonology
i've never heard the term dysmorphia used to describe trans people. i had to look that one up. i really admire your strength and courage to run for office and take a shot at standing up for all trans issues, but you gotta do your homework on the internal issues among the trans umbrella. even more so regarding suitbility of words, terms, and definitions. and yes, exposing a helpful loophole isn't helpful either. i'd love to be supportive of your candidacy and campaign, re trans issues, regardless of your political stripes, but i'd really like to chat with you further to gain a better understanding behind these comments and your choice of terms, and their implications.

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