'I am extremely elated,' N.S. trans woman says of province's decision to pay for breast implants
The Nova Scotia provincial government agreed to start paying for breast implants for transgender women, thanks in large part to Serina Slaunwhite.
She's delighted with the policy change and predicts a great many individuals will benefit.
Just two days shy of her 56th birthday, Slaunwhite would seem to have a lot to celebrate these days.
The transition to her current self began about six years ago with hormone replacement therapy, but the process hit a brick wall when she discovered she'd be required to pay out-of-pocket for breast implants.
“I fail to understand why the government never really considered that because, being a female, it's a natural part of a woman’s body,” Slaunwhite said. A trans woman obviously wants to feel complete, not just physically.”
Slaunwhite appealed the decision and fought back, becoming a reluctant, albeit effective voice for transgender rights in Nova Scotia.
How effective she was became clear just 11 days ago.
“I am extremely elated,” Slaunwhite said.
There was no formal announcement -- just a short news release on a Friday morning, with the province saying it would start paying for the implants as of July 1.
“I can appreciate the distress transgender people can experience during their transition, and I thank those who have advocated for this change,” Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey said in a statement.
“I’m pretty sure that the wait list is going to get very long very fast,” Slaunwhite said. “I'm sure a lot of trans women out there are going to be dancing and singing to the doctor's office, waiting to, you know, go see a plastic surgeon.”
Although she's always known there've been critics, Slaunwhite remains focused on the future these days, and even reluctantly allows herself to take a little credit for the change she spearheaded.
“I feel very happy that I was able to do something good for the trans-community,” Slaunwhite said.
It’s a little unclear just how much money the provincial government has allocated for the program: a spokesperson said she might have that information Wednesday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.