Dr. Lorne Warneke, friend to Alberta trans community, dies

Dr. Lorne Warneke, a friend to the trans community in Alberta, passed away on August 28, 2020 from injuries related to a fall. Dr. Warneke was a psychiatrist, University of Alberta professor and medical director at the gender clinic at the Grey Nuns Hospital until he retired in 2017.

The University of Alberta acknowledged his achievements on its website: “Dr. Warneke fought relentlessly for increased awareness, education and support for sexual diversity and the affirmation of gender identity”. Upon retirement in 2017, he received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Warneke lobbied to change Alberta human rights legislation to include sexual orientation as a protected area, and in 1984, convinced Alberta Health to pay for gender affirmation surgery. He founded the gender clinic at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in Edmonton in 1995, one of the first clinics in Canada to serve transgender people. The tributes from trans folks in Alberta testified to the high esteem in which he was held. A colleague called him a champion “for minority communities everywhere in Alberta and across Canada.”

He is survived by John Chan, his husband of 24 years.