Gender-Affirming Health Services
Gender-affirming health services are offered in Prince Edward Island.
What is gender-affirming health care?
“Gender-affirming care can be understood as the processes through which a health care system cares for and supports an individual, while recognizing and acknowledging their gender identity and expression” (Trans Care BC).
What is transition?
Transition refers to the unique process a person goes through so they can live and express their gender identity in ways that feel right for them. Everyone is different; there is no right or wrong way to transition.
Social transition – may include: coming out, using a different name, using a different pronoun (he/she/they), changing style of dress and using gender affirming products such as binders or breast forms.
Medical transition – may include: hormone therapies, hormone blockers and/or gender affirming surgeries.
Legal transition – may include: legally changing name(s), changing the gender marker listed on legal documents (driver’s license and/or birth certificate) and changing legal documents to reflect appropriate titles.
Are there gender-affirming care trained physicians, nurse practitioners or mental health professionals in PEI?
There are physicians, nurse practitioners, and mental health professionals who have gender-affirming care training in PEI. Health PEI is committed to ensuring you are able to access gender-affirming care by connecting with experienced professionals and providing training opportunities and education. If you require help in identifying a gender-affirming care trained physician, nurse practitioner or mental health professional, please contact the Patient Navigator.
I am under 16 years of age, how do I access gender-affirming care?
Contact your family physician or nurse practitioner to be referred to a pediatrician to discuss your transition (social, medical and/or legal). If you do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner (or do not feel comfortable discussing this with your family physician or nurse practitioner), you may contact the patient navigator by calling 1-844-882-3141 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Student Well Being Teams in PEI Schools or the Health PEI Community Mental Health Program can also act as a resource to you.
I am over the age of 16, how do I access gender-affirming care?
Contact your family physician or nurse practitioner to discuss your transition (social, medical and/or legal). If you do not have a family physician or nurse practitioner (or do not feel comfortable discussing this with your family physician or nurse practitioner), you may contact the patient navigator by calling 1-844-882-3141 or emailing email@example.com. The Health PEI Community Mental Health Program can also act as a resource to you.
How can I get hormone therapy?
If you have a family physician or nurse practitioner and they are informed about trans health, ask them for a hormone prescription. They may be qualified to assess hormone readiness and prescribe and monitor hormone therapy. Some family physicians and nurse practitioners may also prescribe based on the informed consent model. The informed consent model respects a person's right to self-determination. It does not rely on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria as a prerequisite to prescribing hormone therapy. Informed consent ensures you understand all the information about hormone therapy and accept the risks involved.
If your family physician or nurse practitioner feels this is beyond their scope of practice, you can still access a hormone prescription through obtaining an assessment in accordance with the WPATH Standards of Care (World Professional Association for Transgender Health). To access these assessments you may contact the patient navigator by calling 1-844-882-3141 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Assessments are also available through the Health PEI Community Mental Health Program or through private practitioners.
What procedures are covered for gender-affirming surgery?
PEI Medicare covers the following procedures:
- clitoral release
- erectile/testicular implant
- mastectomy with chest masculinization
- orchiectomy (also referred to as orchidectomy)
To qualify for coverage by PEI Medicare, you must:
- be assessed and recommended for surgery by either one or two health care providers (e.g. a qualified physician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, psychologist or registered social worker);
- have a referral for surgery completed and submitted to Health PEI by a physician or nurse practitioner; and
- have the surgery approved by PEI Medicare before the surgery takes place.
Persons applying for gender-affirming surgeries must meet criteria in accordance with your surgical centre/clinic and the WPATH Standards of Care.
Your gender-affirming care physician or nurse practitioner will need to request approval from PEI Medicare for any out-of-province surgery. Some gender-affirming surgical procedures are performed on PEI, however most gender-affirming surgeries will be referred out-of-province to the Centre Métropolitain de Chirurgie (CMC), also known as GRS Montreal. In general, travel and accommodation costs are not covered.
Your gender-affirming care physician or nurse practitioner will need to complete and submit the Gender Confirming Surgery Prior Approval Request Form [PDF | 580 KB] and the necessary attachments to Health PEI’s Out-of-Province Coordinator.
If your request and referral for gender-affirming surgery is approved by PEI Medicare, your physician or nurse practitioner will forward a copy of your approval forms and necessary documentation to CMC in Montreal. Staff at CMC will review the documentation and may contact you for any additional information required. They will then work with you on an appropriate surgery date.
Your health care provider who referred you for surgery will have information that is most relevant to your unique situation. Have a consultation about what you should do to prepare for surgery and how to plan for after-surgical care.
If you require medical assistance after your surgery, please contact your surgeon and/or your referring physician or nurse practitioner. Urgent care can be accessed through a walk-in clinic or the emergency department of your local hospital. If you are not sure who to see, you can call 811 to get health advice from a registered nurse.
How can I change my name and gender on my PEI Health Card?
To legally change your name, you must be 18 years of age or older and reside in PEI for at least three months. If you are the legal guardian of a minor under the age of 18 who has been living in the province for at least three months, you can apply to legally change their name on their behalf. Learn more about legally changing your name and the applicable fees.
As of June 2016, the Vital Statistics Act [PDF | 220 KB] was amended to make it easier for gender-affirming people to change their gender on government issued identification. You can apply to change your gender on your birth certificate by submitting:
- a written declaration stating that you assume, identify with, and intend to maintain the gender identity that corresponds with the requested amendment; and
- a written statement from a medical practitioner who is authorized to practice medicine in the province, confirming that the sex recorded on your registration of birth does not correspond with your gender identity.
If you were born in PEI, contact Vital Statistics at 1-877-320-1253 or email email@example.com If you were not born in PEI, contact the government agency responsible for issuing birth certificates where you were born. Once your name and gender has been legally changed, you contact the PEI Medicare Office at 1-800-321-5492 to request a name and gender change on your PEI Health Card and health record. You may be required to provide your new birth certificate.
What are my rights and responsibilities as a patient?
Everyone has the right to receive the best and safest health care possible, including the right to express yourself in relation to your care. You are responsible to be an involved patient – you are encouraged to ask questions, listen to the answers and talk about any concerns you may have. Learn more about Patient Rights and Responsibilities.
Where can I learn more about gender identity, expression and diversity?
For more information, please visit: