Members of Alberta’s transgendered, gay, lesbian and bisexual community are preparing for a battle with the Alberta government after cuts were made to gender reassignment surgery.

The Alberta government delisted gender reassignment from its funding coverage as part of the budget announcement Tuesday.

“This is a decision we feel is based on ignorance and discrimination. On paper it seemed like an easy cut but this is people’s lives we’re talking about,” Kristopher Wells, researcher at the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies based in the University of Edmonton, said.

“These medical transitions are not a choice for some people, it’s a necessary medical procedure,” he added.

The cuts to the funding would only save Alberta Health and Wellness about $700,000 a year, a cost Wells feels isn’t worth the consequences.

“Some members of this community report being born in the wrong body and gender reassignment surgery helps to re-establish their biological self with their emotional self,” Wells said.

Wells launched a Facebook group regarding the issue and already has over 360 members.

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