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Horowitz announces shortened waiting time for gender reassignment surgery

Health minister unveils plan to train health professionals on sensitivities of trans community and double number of surgery hours dedicated to reassignment operations

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz speaks during a visit to Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer in Ramat Gan on August 3, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz speaks during a visit to Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer in Ramat Gan on August 3, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced Tuesday morning a plan to reduce waiting times for Israelis seeking gender reassignment surgery and to boost support for the country’s transgender community.

During a visit to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Horowitz said the ministry was launching a series of measures to ease the way for the transgender community in Israel.

“The difficulties transgender people deal with are enormous,” said Horowitz. “There are almost no transgender women who have not been subjected to shouts, curses and physical violence. That’s the norm for transgender men and women.”

The proposal is slated to involve training health professionals to be attuned to the sensitivities of the community, simplifying the bureaucratic process involved in undertaking gender reassignment surgery, and doubling the surgery hours dedicated to reassignment operations.

“Gender reassignment surgeries are not cosmetic surgeries. These are life-changing and life-saving surgeries,” Horowitz said. “We will expand the number of surgeries and shorten the queues for these important surgeries here in Israel. We will improve the medical service, and adapt it to the needs of the LGBT community, and the trans community in particular.”

The Israeli Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery welcomed Horowitz’s announcement.

“We support this move that will give hope for minimizing bureaucracy and shortening waiting times,” the organization said in a statement. “As plastic surgeons, we are ready to embark on the mental, hormonal and physical efforts for the benefit of women and men on the trans spectrum.”

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