TEL AVIV — Israel has lowered the minimum age for gender reassignment surgery from 21 to 18, and candidates will only have to prove they have lived for one year as the requested gender identity, instead of two years, Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reports.
The minimum age is for approval; patients will still need to go abroad for the procedure due to a lack of expertise in Israel. The procedure is included in Israel’s “health basket” of subsidized treatments and is considered a genuine health need, not cosmetic surgery.
The amended Health Ministry regulation was sent this week to the hospitals and health maintenance organizations, Haaretz reports.
The transgender community has complained for years about discrimination in the run-up to approval for sex-change operations, citing disdain for them at the hospitals’ sex-reassignment committees, let alone in the overall health system. The community complained of humiliations throughout the whole two-year process in the run-up to approval, Haaretz reports. The authority to approve the surgery will be transferred from the sex-reassignment committees to a special committee including a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a urologist, an endocrinologist, a gynecologist and a representative of the transgender community.