[Trigger warning for transphobia, self-harm, cutting, self-castration, and prisoner abuse]
I’ve been spending a good deal of time thinking about the intersection of trans*ness, gender, class, race, and healthcare lately. It’s an occupational requirement, I suppose.
Anyhow, I came across [TW] this story, and all I can say is that I was utterly unsurprised. Hey look, it’s Tuesday!
That’s pretty much the most damning indictment of this country’s treatment of trans* people that I can think of.
1) A trans* woman of color does not have access to adequate healthcare.
2) At a very young age she begins stealing, in hopes of securing healthcare.
3) She is subsequently arrested, and locked up in a men’s prison for a long, long time.
4) She is not allowed to grow her hair out.
5) She is not allowed to have SRS/GRS.
Ophelia De’lonta, the woman in question, is now suing the state of Virginia.
And we have:
Republican Virginia Del. Todd Gilbert says he would seek state legislation if De’lonta’s lawsuit is successful.
“The notion that taxpayers are going to fund a sex change is just ridiculous,” says Gilbert.
No. You sir are ridiculous.
Harold Clarke, who became Virginia’s corrections director last year, says it would be a security risk to allow the surgeries because Virginia’s inmates are housed according to their gender at birth, not anatomy.
Oh! If only there were a solution to this dilemma. (I have a solution to this dilemma.)
The article itself is pretty sorry. I definitely award bonus points for framing Ms. De’lonta’s cutting as central to the issue. If there’s one thing I’ve seen over and over and over again, it’s people (trans and cis alike) framing self-harm as a central reason why trans* people should have access to medical care. False. Our shared humanity is reason enough.
As pretty much every person in the United States has noted, there are problems with the health care legislation under consideration in Congress. The bills assume women are aquaria, and that people who don’t have insurance are lazy jerks who need to be punished (and here I am, thinking that being denied a basic human right is punishment enough). Minor issues.
Here, in a nutshell, are my main objections:
1) Women and transsexual men are the primary market for elective cosmetic medical procedures.
2) The people who get to decide what medical procedures are “elective” and “cosmetic” are typically cissexual men.
I understand the rationale for this tax. Democrats don’t have the spine to make good people pay taxes. Why collect taxes from hard working folks who eek out a living speculating on real estate. If anything, they deserve a hug– it must have been hard laying off all those people. Can’t we just make the cast of The Hills pay for everything? Those folks are so annoying– especially the superficial women. I suppose I should applaud the Democrats’ creativity. Normally I’d expect them to raise taxes on cigarettes and Taco Bell, but they’ve found an even better target for their hatred than smokers and fat people.
I’m sure the Democrats counted on this being a non-controversial item. After all, only rich snotty women have elective cosmetic medical procedures. Except, as I alluded to above, there’s a rich history of considering women’s health issues to be tangential, even cosmetic, compared to real health problems.
I know I’m supposed to be placated by the fact that there’s an exemption to the proposed tax for people who really truly need it. But again, who decides what is medically necessary? And where have I heard that term before? Oh, right… every time someone denies healthcare to transsexual people.
It’s not enough that I already pay through the teeth for insurance that doesn’t cover most of my medical bills. Never mind my eminent bankruptcy, due in part to the cost of past “elective cosmetic” medical procedures. And forget the fact that I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past several years trying to figure out how to pull tens of thousands of dollars out of thin air. And the fact that these medical bills aren’t tax exempt
, like “normal” medical bills for “normal” people. I’m sure I can always just pick up another job to pay the extra tax, just like I did that one time– er, until I got fired for not having already completed the medical procedures I was trying to save for. But still, better to tax people like me than to make hard working, decent, normal people pay taxes. Thank guys, it means a lot. I’d write you a large check for your next campaign, but, well, you know.
As it turns out, someone over at one of those big blogs for normal feminist women was on the case, too. Apparently this isn’t such a big deal, as lots of commenters noted that real feminists wouldn’t ever have this kinda of icky surgery. Apparently this tax is downright progressive. At least the author has confirmed that she really wasn’t considering trans people when she wrote the thread. Also, people with disabilities are icky.
Originally posted at Duck, Duck, Gay Duck the First.
Apparently immigrants are totally coming to America for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the world-class health care that we just give away to anyone who shows up at a doctor’s office. And of course, this is a huge problem, because then a bunch of healthy foreigners are going to be roaming our streets.
From the New York Times:
Under some plans being considered by Congress, more than one million legal permanent residents and about seven million illegal immigrants who currently have no health insurance would be excluded from coverage, according to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.
Under all plans under consideration, immigrants who are excluded from new programs, including illegal immigrants, would still be required to buy health insurance.
and it goes without saying that:
Democrats broadly agree that illegal immigrants should be excluded [from participation in government health care programs]
Originally posted at Duck, Duck, Gay Duck the First.
A couple of recent posts elsewhere (stemming from timely headlines in the “real” media) remind me of what happens when society assumes that access to social services is a privilege, and not a right. Health insurance, politics, and the free market do not mix– they’re like oil, water, and, uh… rock?
Look, there’s always going to be somebody deciding what procedures are provided to which people. This will involve politics to some extent. But, ya know’, it’d be cool if doctors had some say.
Anyhow, exhibit A:
Folks over at Feministe were discussing birth certificates for transsexual people. In the comments, someone (lets call him piny) pointed out that the cost of transsexual-related medicine (I hate that way of putting it, because it relegates some medical procedures to queer world, while normalizing others) should be irrelevant to whether insurers actually pay for it. And he’s right, of course. Insurers have made the same arguments with regard to mental health and autism, although recent legislation has gotten insured people closer to parity in coverage for mental illness.