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New Zealand to tackle 50-year wait for gender-affirming surgery

New Zealand to tackle 50-year wait for gender-affirming surgery

Acting health minister James Shaw (in pink) announced the measures (Photo: Facebook)

New Zealand will increase the number of publicly-funded gender-affirming surgeries available for transgender citizens.

Surgeries are currently capped at three male-to-female surgeries and one female-to-male surgery every two years.

This puts the option of gender-affirming surgery out of reach of most transgender New Zealanders.

It has also led to a 105-person waiting list for procedures, according to News Room. It would take 50 years to get through the backlog.

Acting Associate Health Minister, James Shaw, took to Facebook to share the news. ‘Our health system has never met the needs of transgender New Zealanders, and that has to change’ he wrote.

Cost of surgery

Transgender individuals the world over suffer disproportionate levels of depression. In New Zealand, according to News Room, a 2012 survey of 8,500 trans youth found 40 per cent were depressed nearly half had self-harmed in the last year.

Some transgender individuals choose to have surgery some do not. But, gender-affirming surgery is not cheap.

Especially so in New Zealand. The country has not been able to perform male-to-female surgery since the retirement of the only specialist in 2014.

The handful of gender-affirming surgeries taking place in New Zealand largely took place overseas or in private hospitals.

Surgeries will not be funded through the ‘High Cost Treatment Pool’, according to News Room.

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