CLGA Digital Collections

CLGA's Digital Collections

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Trans Health Care Activism in Ontario, 1998-2008

This oral history project focuses on the 1998 delisting and 2008 re-listing of coverage for gender confirmation surgery under Ontario's health care plan. A total of 8 interviews were conducted with 7 activists, community members, and politicians who shared rich reflections about their work and engagement with community, as well as with policy-makers and government institutions. 

All narrators share details of their personal and professional lives throughout the 1990s and 2000s, especially as it pertains to the LGBTQ+ rights movement and the transgender community in Ontario. These individuals had led the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Ontario well before the 1998 delisting of GCS, an event which galvanized the fight for transgender equality under diverse aspects of provincial law. As such, they speak passionately about the need to push strategically to fight for trans people's access to quality health care.  

Interviews can be found in the 'Oral Histories' section on the menu to the right. The section 'History of GCS in Ontario' compiles the anecdotes of narrators to trace the history of gender confirmation surgery in Ontario, including details about how it operated before the delisting, the struggle during the decade without coverage, as well as a brief history of the transgender rights movement in Ontario in the 1990s and 2000s. A gallery of related photographs, newspaper clippings, and other visual material can be found under the respective title. These sections are accompanied by a glossary which explains some terms and acronyms frequently used throughout this project.

Through these interviews, we can learn more about how and why the decade between 1998-2008 was such a significant component of Canadian trans history, and how it provided impetus for many of the major positive changes that have occurred since these events. They also provide interesting reflections on the combination of trans and LGBTQ politics, on formal political processes and contexts, and on trans community relationships and issues.

[August 13, 2018: this exhibition is in process; if you have questions, please contact Elspeth Brown at]


LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory (PI: Prof. Elspeth Brown. Exhibit by: Doug Graffeo, MA); oral histories by postdoctoral fellow NM.