OP ED: WHY TRANSGENDER AMERICANS NEED PROTECTIONS

You may have seen the latest salvo from the federal government on transgender Americans. This time, it’s the administration protecting healthcare workers who refuse medical care to transgender individuals.

I’m not only going to argue that transgender Americans need protections. I’m going to give you examples of why. I’ll share stories, shared with me, of people who have sought care. Some of them are outright horror stories. Some of them will, hopefully, shock you and give you information that may help you look at the issue differently. I’m also going to argue a point which I don’t expect will change your viewpoint, and you may not agree with. But it’s the stories with which I hope you’ll learn something you didn’t already know.

Firstly (here’s where I don’t expect I will change your viewpoint), I argue that healthcare is indeed a right. It’s a right given by our creator. If you’re a Christian, surely you will remember the stories where Jesus referred to children as “the least of these” and where Jesus surrounded himself with people who were disadvantaged, and sometimes outcast.

Jesus never wavered in his intent to heal those outcasts. In many ways, he was the first “do no harm” healer. He never asked for money, or anything else, in exchange for giving these people their health. If we are truly to be Christians, or followers of Christ, each of us are called upon to heal those around us, without compensation, in any way we’re able.

The medical community in American differs widely from those outside this nation’s borders. In a nutshell, it’s much easier (and much, much less costly) for people to obtain healthcare elsewhere. Much of the healthcare expense is from huge corporations who care only about making a profit. The shareholders of these corporations care little for individuals. They care about profits. They invest their money in hopes of gaining the largest profit possible. There is NOTHING wrong with making a profit. But I believe Jesus would have something to say about making a profit at the expense of others.

Secondly, there are the many stories of people who come to me with outright horror stories of trying to obtain healthcare. In many cases, this care is desperately needed, and ordered by their healthcare providers. Insurance companies are largely to blame here for denying claims, but so are hospitals and other healthcare entities who employ healthcare workers.

You may or may not believe gender dysphoria is real. I lived with it for way too many years. BUT IT’S CURABLE!

You read that correctly. Gender dysphoria is a treatable, and even curable condition. I received psychological and psychiatric care that helped me reduce my gender dysphoria symptoms. Is it all gone? No. But there are things I haven’t yet done to alleviate the symptoms completely. I know what they are, and I hope to receive the care I need.

There are transgender individuals who desperately need the care I’ve received to be whole and live happy, productive lives in society. They literally can NOT get to that point, unless they receive proper care. Every individual is different, with unique circumstances. This care needs to be individualized for each transgender person. I know of many, many transgender people who can’t find mental healthcare because they can’t afford it, or can’t find a provider who has experience treating transgender persons. Some end up going to a provider who says they treat transgender people, only to find out they have an agenda to use incredibly harmful conversion therapy to convince a transgender person they can be “normal” and live as their assigned gender, if only they try hard enough.

Believe me, I tried harder than I’ve ever tried at anything else in my life, to live as a man. But I was never male. I’ve always been female, and no mere mortal is going to be able to change my mind into that of a man. I’ve heard ALL the arguments offered, in an attempt to dissuade me and other transgender people, from obtaining peace. I even believed them for a time.

I’ve heard from many transgender people on Medicaid who can’t even get their hormones covered! I would not be alive today, if it weren’t for the right hormones coursing through my veins. Having the correct hormones, at the right levels, helped me regain control of my life, as well as a sense of peace, security and productivity. I can’t imagine what would happen to me if those hormones were snatched away from me.

I’ve heard from trans women who can’t get their insurance to pay for hair removal. Can you imagine my face with facial hair still? I needed painful hair removal (and it’s ongoing) to keep me from having to shave every day. It’s degrading and embarrassing to have to shave, if you’re a trans woman.

There are women who desperately need gender confirmation surgery. Again, everyone is different and not every woman needs these procedures! But some desperately need it. That they can’t, is clear proof that we have our morals confused in this country. Some vile people, many of whom claim to be Christians, are loathe to hear of taxes going, in any way, to facilitate these procedures and care. Many of these same people would rather wipe me and others from the face of the Earth. They have the misconception that we’re a danger to others, or that we will hurt society in other ways. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Finally, I will share with you that I have been humiliated, on more than one occasion, in my pursuit of basic healthcare, simply because I’m transgender. I’ve even been placed in danger when seeking care. I’ve had doctors simply refuse to care for me. I’ve been deliberately humiliated because I sought care, and have been treated like a second class citizen and worse. I’ve been deliberately misgendered, in a open waiting room, and otherwise have been outed. What would have happened if one of these unscrupulous villains would have been present? I would have, most assuredly, been assaulted when leaving the facility.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I lived in fear of being hurt. It got to the point where I couldn’t think of anything else. I received threats from people on social media who vowed to hurt me. It paralyzed me, and I wasn’t able to even walk down the hallway from my apartment to empty my trash. My friends helped me. I certainly wasn’t able to leave my apartment to go to work or out in public. It was a very dark time, and it took several professionals working together to get me to a place where I felt safe again.

So, the position of this government that transgender people’s protections mean less than a few people who would actively do us harm, is unethical at best, and immoral in practice. We need to come back to our roots as an accepting and loving nation. We used to be. We welcomed foreigners who wanted to settle here and contribute to our society. We also used to open our arms widely to care for neighbors less fortunate and in need. Let’s return to those values and guarantee people the care they need to be productive, happy, and secure citizens.

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