A person in Canada wants taxpayers to fund surgery to make them a vagina while also keeping a functional penis, in a first-of-its-kind case.

The Ontario resident, 33, was born male but identifies as non-binary, meaning they are not exclusively male or female ‘but literally a mix’, court documents show.

Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) initially denied the request on the grounds that the procedure is experimental and is not performed in Canada.

But the patient – referred to only as K.S. – complained to the province’s appeals board who overturned the decision, which then prompted a counter-appeal.  

Now the case is with Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, which is due to issue its ruling in the coming months.

A non-binary person in Canada wants taxpayers to fund surgery to make them a vagina while also keeping a functional penis (file image)

A non-binary person in Canada wants taxpayers to fund surgery to make them a vagina while also keeping a functional penis (file image)

It is unclear how much the surgery will cost but traditional ‘reassignment’ procedures usually cost between $10,000 USD and $70,000.

A similar case last June saw the OHIP fund the surgery of a public servant, 41, who had a penis constructed without removing their vagina and uterus – despite initially denying the claim.

The cases reflect a small but growing demand for niche surgeries for people who identify with one of the more complicated gender groups.

According to court documents, K.S. has suffered from gender dysphoria since they were a teen. They are non-binary but skew ‘transfeminine’ and go by she/her.

K.S.’s doctor, an Ottawa endocrinologist, gave testimony supporting her request for the unusual surgery.

‘It is very important for (K.S.) to have a vagina for her personal interpretation of her gender expression but she also wishes to maintain her penis,’ the doctor wrote in a letter of support. 

‘(K.S.) is transfeminine but not completely on the ‘feminine’ end of the spectrum (and) for this reason it’s important for her to have a vagina while maintaining a penis.’

K.S. argued that removing her penis would only make her gender dysphoria worse.

But critics told the National Post the request illustrates ‘how far off the rails’ gender-affirming treatment has gone.

‘Our public health-care system is at the breaking point and really needs to focus on procedures that are medically necessary,’ Pamela Buffone, founder of the parents’ group Canadian Gender Report, said in an email to the National Post.

‘Is this type of surgery health care? The patient will not be physically healthier because of the operation, which is likely to result in complications and the need for corrective surgeries and further demands on the health system.’

If approved, K.S. will travel to The Crane Center in Austin, Texas, which specializes in several non-standard gender surgeries.

A lead surgeon at the clinic once bragged in a 2021 Facebook video that he offers ‘everything you could think of’.

In an interview with National Post, they said around 10 or so surgeries similar to K.S.’s are performed at the center each year.

Usually male-to-female genital surgery involves using tissue from the penis to craft a vaginal canal and glands from the organ are turned into a clitoris.

But in K.S.’s case, surgeons will use skin grafts from the abdomen, colon or scrotum to create the vagina.

The goal with ‘phallus-preserving vaginoplasty’ is to create a vagina that is ‘aesthetically pleasing’ while ‘maintaining the original genital structure’ of the penis, according to the Art Plastic Surgery clinic in New Jersey. 

The penis can still be used for sex or urination, it states. 

But many doctors warn the operation is risky and the techniques used to perform it still poorly understood.

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