I’m sure you’d have to be living under a rock to not notice the upheaval going on in the United States. It’s on every news channel, every social media feed, and even websites that normally avoid politics are covering it.
I wanted to take a few moments to discuss how Trumps administration is effecting me, and by extension my husband. We are being deeply effected, not in a philosophical way, but in a very real concrete fashion.
I get my insurance through the Department of Defense, who only in the beginning of 2016 dropped an insurance rider preventing care for transgender people. This rider meant if they could related any medical care you get to your status as transgender, they will deny coverage. Full stop.
In theory, this would just stop coverage for therapy, hormones, and surgery, but it’s much more insidious in practice.
This is when we come to something the community calls “Transgender Broken Arm Syndrome.” It’s when you go to the ER for a broken arm, or anything emergency, but the doctor finds out you are transgender, and then immediately tells you that your pain and suffering, are all caused by your status as trans.
This isn’t hyperbole, or hypothetical. This is a real possibility for transgender people. If the doctor you end up with is even willing to see you, they might decide that every issue you have is related to your being transgender because they are bigoted assholes. Then the bill goes to your insurance that way, and you get denied coverage.
The current administration is not LGBT friendly, and some of the ACA (also known as Obamacare) contains protections from things like pre-existing conditions, and regulations prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity. They are already trying to remove those.
I get my insurance from the Department of Defense, and am literally a pen stroke away from having transgender care stricken off my coverage. If that happens, I have to risk facing Transgender Broken Arm Syndrome if I go in for things that are not even related to being transgender. It’s a two-for of delight, really. . .
My original plan for my transition had me waiting a couple of years, before deciding on what I wanted for bottom surgery. I had top surgery a year ago, and I felt spacing major surgeries out by a couple years would be for the best.
However, in this climate, I have been making calls, and seeking Group Health approvals for stepping that timeline to this year. We are talking in the next 11 months.
Additionally, my insurance goes through Dr. Meltzer in Scottsdale, AZ, and that adds a whole dimension of air travel and hotels to the process. The doc requires two letters from therapists, one of which has to be a Phd. (Seriously?!)
Bottom surgery isn’t a one size fits all process for transgender men. There are all sorts of things that you can opt for. You have to decide what you want to keep, if you want to build a bigger better dick, or just elevate what testosterone gave you. Do you want to stand to pee, or are you okay sitting to do that. There are options for all of it. This can mean 2-4 surgeries for even the most simple selections.
I feel fairly lucky that I was a nurse for close to ten years, because I have the medical background to really dig in and sort out what I want. I am looking at the “easier and simpler” options, but that still comes up with between 6-7 separate procedures spread out between 2 separate surgeries.
I would have liked to have had more time, but if I don’t leap now, I might not be able to afford it later.
Hilariously, I have spent a month looking at penises. Specifically transgender men’s penis’ on sites like Transbucket to help research what I want done. Thankfully I am medically trained enough to be able to wade through post op pictures and see what I need to make up my mind.
This is how this new administration effects my husband and I. We are diverting all our resources towards making this happen, rather than spread this out over the next few years, and I am have been staring at post op dick pics for four weeks.
I am blessed to be in love with a man that is okay with throwing all our resources at this, but it doesn’t change the fact that we shouldn’t have to do things this way.
To be fair, I’d have had to look at that many dick pics eventually, but thanks to the Trump administration I’ve been doing it all right now.