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Non-binary Canadian seeks public funding for surgery to create vagina while preserving penis

A non-binary Canadian is seeking to undergo surgery in Texas to construct a vagina while preserving the penis – using taxpayer funds for the unusual gender-affirming procedure.

The 33-year-old Ontario resident, referred to as K.S. in court papers, was born male but identifies as non-binary and “literally a mix” of genders, according to the National Post.

K.S., who has experienced gender dysphoria since a teen, also identifies as female dominant and uses a female name.

If approved, she would travel to The Crane Center for Transgender Surgery in Austin, Texas, for the penile-sparing vaginoplasty because it specializes in non-standard gender procedures, according to the Canadian outlet.

Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan initially denied her request for the surgery in 2022 on the grounds that it is experimental and not available in Canada

K.S. complained to the appeal and review board, which overturned the decision, ruling that a vaginoplasty is among the 11 genital surgeries listed for public coverage,and that it shouldn’t inherently include a penectomy, the removal of a penis.

OHIP then appealed the review board’s decision and Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice is expected to issue a ruling in the next few months.

It is unclear how much the surgery would cost, but The Crane Center told the National Post their surgeries range from $10,000 to $70,000.

An Ottawa endocrinologist treating K.S. supported her request for a specific type of surgery.

“It is very important for (K.S.) to have a vagina for her personal interpretation of her gender expression but she also wishes to maintain her penis,” the doctor wrote OHIP supporting the request for prior funding approval, according to the outlet.

“(K.S.) is transfeminine but not completely on the ‘feminine” end of the spectrum (and) for this reason it’s important for her to have a vagina while maintaining a penis,” the doc added.

K.S. argued that forcing a non-binary person to undergo binary surgery — male to female or female to male — would be like conversion therapy, which has been banned in Canada since 2022, the National Post said.

She also want to keep her penis for sexual health reasons and out of concern the “urological rerouting” could lead urinary incontinence.

LGBTQ rights groups argue that such surgeries can vastly improve a person’s quality of life and reduce gender dysphoria.

Health-care providers shouldn’t make assumptions about what procudres may be medically necessary, rights group Egale Canada argued in a written submission to the court, according to the outlet.

“Ultimately OHIP’s interpretation (of a vaginoplasty) is exclusionary and discriminates against non-binary people on the basis of their gender identity,” Egale said.

“If there is any ambiguity in what should be publicly covered, it should be resolved in favour of the claimant, it added.

The Ontario Health Ministry told the outlet it doesn’t comment on pending legal matters and K.S. declined to comment when contacted through her lawyer.

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