Access to free and equitable healthcare, including mental health, is a fundamental Canadian value. However, for many LGBTQ2S community members, accessing the healthcare they need is made difficult because of a lack of services, provider competency, and continuing discriminatory practices.

A kid holding a sign that reads "Defend and protect queer kids"

Conversion Therapy

There is no federal ban on conversion therapy, and eight out of 13 provinces and territories continue to allow it. This practice strikes at the very heart of who we are as LGBTQ2S peoples, using widely discredited and harmful methods in an attempt to ‘change’ our sexual orientation or gender identity. Conversion therapy is not a therapeutic model. It is torture.

Earlier this year, the federal government rejected a call for a national ban on conversion therapy, as they believe the issue is a provincial-territorial matter, while also committing to exploring amending the Criminal Code to ban the practice.

We call on all parties to:

Enact the legislative and policy changes needed to ensure that the deadly practice of conversion therapy is banned across Canada

You can ask your local candidates:

  • If they support a ban on conversion therapy.
  • What their party will do to end conversion therapy in Canada.
trans health care is primary care

Access to Affirming Healthcare for Trans, Non-Binary, and Two-Spirit people

Access to affirming primary care and gender-affirming surgeries continues to be a pressing issue for trans, non-binary, and two-spirit community members, with levels of access varying widely across Canada.

The care that exists often perpetuates outdated notions of sex and gender, causing further harm to community members. With 54% of trans Ontarians having to educate their healthcare providers about trans-related health issues, and 10% reporting using hormones obtained from non-medical sources, increasing access to affirming healthcare is essential to the health and wellbeing of trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people.

There are three major issues when it comes to gender-affirming surgeries:

  • There is a continued sexist and transphobic bias embedded in the coverage of different surgeries. For example, while many provinces cover mastectomies (a procedure that removes chest tissues and mammary glands), many do not cover mammoplasty, a surgery that leads to the augmentation of chest tissues.
  • A majority of provincial health plans do not cover standalone surgeries such as labiaplasty or glansplasty, leading to major out-of-pocket expenses for folks whose primary affirming surgeries do not achieve satisfactory results. There is also little to no coverage for vital gender-affirming surgeries and therapies. For example, only one province, Manitoba, covers voice therapy under its health plan.
  • Access to surgeries is very limited and largely concentrated in large urban centres such as Montreal and the Greater Toronto Area. It is common for folks to have to travel thousands of kilometres, and often abroad, for gender-affirming surgeries. Only Nova Scotia funds out-of-province travel and accommodation costs for surgeries. Research shows that post-operation complication rates are higher when folks have to travel far for surgery. This is further compounded by the fact that when people return home, they have to rely on primary care doctors who may not have the competency and training necessary to provide support post-surgery.

There is a strong role for the federal government in ensuring equitable access to life-saving, gender-affirming care. Through amendment of the Canada Health Act, and leveraging Canada Health Transfer payments from the federal government to the provinces and territories, and through working with partners in the healthcare system, the next federal government can help close the gap in healthcare for trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people.

We call on all parties to:

  • Work with provincial and territorial governments to expand affirming trans, two-spirit, and non-binary healthcare.
  • Work with provincial and territorial governments to include coverage of transition-related care without the requirement of a DSM-5 diagnosis.
  • Work with partners, including registered colleges such as the Canadian Medical Association, and post-secondary institutions to strengthen care guidelines and mandated training opportunities for primary and specialist care.
  • Provide the necessary funds to provincial healthcare systems to increase the ability for individuals to be able to access a full range of gender-affirming surgeries and procedures throughout Canada.

You can ask your local candidates:

  • What their party can do to ensure coverage of gender-affirming surgeries and therapies for trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people.
  • Whether they will commit to using the Canada Health Act and health transfers to ensure equitable access to care for our communities.
Hand holding a rainbow heart cardboard prop

Ending the Blood Ban

Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec allow men who have sex with men to donate blood only if the last sexual contact was less than three months ago; all this while facing chronic shortages of donated blood and blood products. This discriminatory practice flies in the face of modern scientific understanding of transmission, and the fact that men who have sex with men are much more likely to be aware of their HIV status.

As the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) says, Canada “needs a new policy that does not discriminate based on gender and sexual orientation… Canadians deserve a policy that does not contribute to further stigma, but considers specific behaviours associated with HIV transmission based in modern science.”

In the 2015 election, the Liberal party promised to end the blood ban. It is time for this exclusionary policy to come to an end once and for all.

We call on all parties to:

  • Support the removal of the discriminatory ban on blood donations for men who have sex with men.

You can ask your local candidates:

  • What their party will do to end the ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men.




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