Petition calls for Medicare to cover gender-affirming surgery

A federal parliamentary petition calling for gender-affirming surgeries to be covered by Medicare has been signed by more than 120,000 people.

The petition has been shared around on social media in recent days, raising concerns about the costs of the surgery.

While the surgery itself costs around $30,000, pre-planning, consultations and aftercare can lead to an overall fee of $100,000. This can force those seeking such services to turn online for financial help and can be detrimental to the mental health of those wanting the surgery.

Image: KUTV

“Transgender people and other people in need of gender-affirming surgery must pay a lot of money, up to $30,000, so they can finally have their outward appearance match how they truly feel on the inside,” the petition states. 

“We therefore ask the House to make gender-affirming and gender reassignment services eligible for Medicare benefits, as these surgeries are essential for the mental health and well-being of select people in the LGBTQ+ community.”

The petition warns that without coverage from Medicare, people are excluded from accessing gender-affirming and reassigning services.

Image: Reddit

Both New Zealand and the UK cover surgery in their healthcare.

In 2018 the New Zealand government lifted a cap they had on state-funded gender-affirmation surgery, and now fund a minimum of four surgeries every two years. 

In the UK, surgery is provided by the NHS.

In both countries, waiting lists apply, due to high demand.

In 2017, a study by Trans Pathways found over 48 percent of trans youth in Australia had attempted suicide, a stark contrast to the 2.4 percent of youth in the general public who had attempted suicide.

The report also found that young trans people are up to 10 times more likely to suffer from serious depression and anxiety than other young Australians.

To sign and read more on the petition click here.