Well, it’s official: the struggle to gain equal rights for transgenders is on the fast track! When the government starts giving you healthcare provisions as a group, you know you have arrived, so I was very pleased to learn that Medicare has now accepted gender reassignment surgery as part of their coverage in Massachusetts and Washington along with the expansion of coverage in other liberal states. This is a milestone for the transgender populace as we are now one step closer to social change. Nevertheless, we still face a very prevalent battle of discrimination, ignorance, and bigotry. What will this legal decision mean for transgender individuals? How will this social change affect those who are not transgendered?
Obviously and primarily, this could be very beneficial for those who have been waiting and saving for years for their own Sex Re-assignment Surgery. Obtaining the feeling of physical completeness as a woman is the reason why transgendered women are seeking quicker and more affordable ways to have their surgeries abroad. Some will get their surgery in Mexico, for it’s convenient geography. Some will get their surgery in Thailand, because it is most commonly practiced. But the reason for this “surgical tourism” is always funds and availability. Finance is the only reason I am a bit wary, albeit hopefully so. I am concerned that those who work in the corporate world who may receive preferential treatment will jump to the front of the line and I wonder where the benchmark of fairness will be. Societal hierarchy and cash trump need every day for those waiting for organ transplants, so I would not be naïve enough to think that the same would not play a part here as SRS is the most coveted surgery of all for transgender women.
With the government now acknowledging the legitimate medical needs of transgender individuals by providing SRS one can only imagine the new possibilities transgenders may have at the ready. Maybe health care reform targeting us will lead to transgender and gender identity education in our school systems and a better understanding and respect for our community on the whole. One can only hope, I certainly do.