Radio station offers $40,000 prize for transgender person’s transition

A top 40 radio station in Canada is offering $40,000 (about US$30,300) to help a listener transition to a different gender.
The New Hot 89.9 in Ottawa, Ontario, launched “The New Normal” contest and sought personal stories from all Canadian residents. The Program Director Josie Fenech said the winning entrant will be able to use the prize for hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery and other associated costs including a new wardrobe.
Radio stations typically offer promotions that ask people to do something embarrassing to vie for the honor of meeting a celebrity or winning concert tickets, but Fenech said they wanted to use a promotion that could make a big impact — especially among teenagers and young adults.
The idea originated after Caitlyn Jenner’s highly publicised transition, including her speech at the ESPY Awards in July as she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. (pictured).
Fenech said: “That really sparked conversations internally. We felt this is something people are starting to talk about and if we dig deeper into the issue there are things that people need to open their eyes and learn more about.”
The medical treatments are covered under Canada’s universal healthcare, but Fenech said they learned the wait time to undergo treatment through public clinics is typically two years.
She commented: “If your happiness is dependent on this surgery that is a really long time to wait.”
Response to the promotion has been immediate as Fenech said within an hour of announcing it they received a letter from a woman who had dropped off her 13-year-old daughter was starting school as a girl for the first time.
“We are realizing how many people are going through this right now,” she said. “We hope people say ‘if the radio station I’m listening to is talking about it and say it’s OK then maybe I can walk to school with more confidence.”