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Dozens to file rights complaints over cuts

While transitioning for the past four years from male to female,Calgarian Mercedes Allen said the decision to make the pro-cess finalhas potentially been taken away from her.

While transitioning for the past four years from male to female, Calgarian Mercedes Allen said the decision to make the pro-cess final has potentially been taken away from her.

And now the 40-year-old will be joining possibly dozens more tomorrow in filing human rights complaints against the Alberta government after funding was cut for gender reassignment surgeries last week to save $700,000.

“I’m very upset right now with everything that has been going on. Everything is up in the air right now,” she told Metro.

Allen has been in transition for four years while receiving hormone treatments and was on the path to finally becoming her true self in August, a decision she says has now been taken out of her hands. “We’re getting mixed signals because we were told the decision is effective immediately.”

Alberta Health and Wellness spokesperson Howard May said any funding approved between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2009 will still go ahead as planned but “anything after March 31 is discontinued.”

But Allen said regardless of whether her procedure goes through or not, she is still worried about others who are not able to get the surgery without funding. “This is about identity and self-fulfilment and closure,” she added.

Allen will be joining other members of Alberta’s transsexual community who are filing human rights complaints provincially and simultaneously at 10 a.m. in Calgary and Edmonton. A civil suit is also in the works.

The devastation felt by the community is evident on the Facebook group Reinstate Gender Reassignment Surgery Funding in Alberta, where more than 1,480 members share comments.

There are also those who feel the government made the right decision, including Brade Tyler. “I don’t think the government should fund this but the money should go towards improving health care …,” he said.

 
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