BMC Becomes First Massachusetts Hospital to Offer Gender Reassignment Surgery

The procedure will be available starting this summer.


Photo by Alex Lau

This summer, Boston Medical Center (BMC) will become the state’s first hospital to offer gender reassignment surgery.

About 100 patients are on a waiting list for the procedure, the Boston Globe reports, illustrating the rising demand for an operation that, as of now, can be elusive for many people who want it. Aside from the fact that few hospitals offer full male-to-female or female-to-male genital surgeries, securing insurance coverage can be difficult, though that’s slowly but surely beginning to change.

“The demand for care from the transgender community is significant and has not been met,’’ Dr. Joshua Safer, medical director of Boston Medical Center’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, told the Globe. “It’s a community that has been neglected for years and years.’’

BMC currently cares for the transgender community with psychological services, hormone therapy, pre-surgical counseling, and operations like facial feminization and chest reconstruction. The genital surgery program will first offer male-to-female operations, and may eventually add the more complicated female-to-male procedure.

Gender affirmation surgery is also offered by surgeons in Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Maryland, Michigan, and Illinois. While that list is short, acceptance is on the rise. Insurance companies including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts now provide coverage, and last October, Plastic Surgery the Meeting held a panel about gender confirmation surgery for the first time in its 89-year history.