Manitobans of diverse gender identities face delays in getting Manitoba health card changes

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Transgender and non-binary Manitobans face long waits for new Manitoba Health cards after requesting name or gender changes.

Chelsea Howgate is a trans woman who first requested changes to her health card over a year ago. She has yet to receive her health card and said not having it has put her life on hold.

“It’s kind of humiliating and frustrating to have to postpone so much just because I don’t have information that properly identifies me,” she told CBC. Weekend morning show guest host Bryce Hoye in an interview on Saturday.

Howgate said her main frustration was not with the delays, but that she had no idea when to expect her Manitoba health card.

Howgate said when trans and non-binary people have to use old material that doesn’t reflect who they really are, it pushes them into humiliating or dangerous situations, and often forces some to use their dead name – the one used before their birth. transition — or showing up to employers when they didn’t want to.

“It’s important so that we can continue to live our lives in safer and more meaningful ways,” she said.

J Fiedler, who is trans-non-binary and uses the they/them pronouns, gave up trying to get new material after two failed attempts last year. They said applying for a sex change on their driver’s license was quick and easy, but the experience of applying to change their Manitoba health card was a huge disappointment.

“It’s really frustrating. It’s kind of a reminder of who I’m not and unfortunately how other people see me,” Fiedler said.

They eventually received two new Manitoba Medicare cards, but gender changes were not made to either, Fiedler said.

J Fiedler, who identifies as trans-non-binary, says they gave up after two failed attempts to get new documents from Manitoba Health last year. (Submitted by J Fiedler)

Fiedler contacted Manitoba Health and was told that they needed to change their birth certificate to have the change made to their health card. However, Fiedler was not born in Canada.

People born outside of Manitoba can only obtain a sex designation change certificate from Manitoba’s Vital Statistics Branch, a provincial spokesperson wrote in a statement to CBC News.

In Fiedler’s case, the province said the processing time to amend a birth certificate is directly related to the processing time for a request to change a sex designation.

“We recognize that customers are experiencing delays in processing these requests,” a provincial spokesperson wrote in a statement to CBC News.

The province said it has made progress in clearing a backlog of more than 25,000 applications for birth, death and marriage certificates, but backlogs remain significant for more “complex” applications.

The Weekend Morning Show (Manitoba)7:42Transgender and non-binary people in the province continue to face delays for new Manitoba health cards.

It takes a long time for trans and non-binary people to get new Manitoba health cards that accurately reflect who they are. Guest host Bryce Hoye overhears two guests talking about the consequences of waiting.

Fiedler said they gave up on getting a new health card because they had a kid and life was busy.

When it comes to medical care and documentation, Fiedler said people of diverse gender identities are often required to cross barriers, but many don’t have the energy or resources to do so.

“Trans and non-binary people have to constantly stand up for themselves…. It’s a ‘choose your fight’ kind of situation.”

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