Earlier this week, it was declared that discrimination within the health care system towards trans people will be illegal under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). This is a huge step in progress. Even today, we suffer discrimination from healthcare providers, both the insurance companies as well as the doctors. It took me two months after moving here to find a doctor who would see me, and he cares more about his Botox patients than his trans patients, having begun to piss off the local trans community. The VA has been taking part in legal discrimination towards me as well, giving me the run around and losing my paperwork in the system and so on. And the sad fact is that I have it easier than many.
Jay Kallio has been struggling with breast cancer for years, and his doctors never even told him he had it despite knowing it. Tuesday was the 17th anniversary of the death of Tyra Hunter, who was in a car wreck, and the paramedics on the scene, after removing her clothes and seeing male genitalia, not only stopped providing necessary health care, but began insulting her. Leslie Feinberg was once denied health care for endocardirits and nearly died because of it. CeCe McDonald was denied the healthcare needed for a laceration she received across her face in self defense.
22% of trans people have been denied healthcare. Sadly, this change in the laws won’t sweep away that kind of discrimination. It will still be there, merely swept under the rug, less obvious. We’ll start seeing more run arounds like what I have with the VA, or doctors who put their other patients ahead of us. Only time will fix this issue, but this law is a big step in the right direction. But it’s just one step. Hopefully we’ll see more, as 2012 shapes up to be an amazing year for trans rights.
Do any of you have any thoughts on this issue?