MONTREAL -- Quebec's government-subsidized sex-change program is proving to be increasingly popular.
Since the program started four years ago, the province has paid roughly $5.5 million for the transformation of 300 people. Surgeries increased every year since 2009 and 2013 is on pace to be the program's most-popular year.
The popularity of the program "is not surprising at all," said Marie-Marcelle Godbout, the founder of Aide aux transsexuels du Quebec (ATQ), a Quebec-based transsexual support group.
"These people are suffering," she said. "It's hard to understand how people can live with such suffering."
Godbout said the sex-change program has significantly reduced the number of transsexual suicide in Quebec.
"There are almost no more suicides," she said. "Now, people see a light at the end of the tunnel."
Before 2009, Quebecers had to be operated on outside the province and were reimbursed by state health insurance. However, the province only received eight applications for reimbursement, between 2005 and 2008.