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gender & sexuality | human & civil rights

Open letter to an anonymous transgender person

As I stopped downtown yesterday, to allow passengers to board and disembark from my bus, I was slipped a note, from a transgendered woman needing help. She is new to town, and needed insurance/healthcare advice. Here is my reply.
I didn't get a good look at you when you passed the note to me downtown. I assumed it was a lost-and-found dropoff.... Anyway, I'd be glad to tell you what I know. But the bad news is: I don't know much.

TriMet expressly forbids gender surgery on their insurance. I almost got Blue Cross to perform vaginoplasty ten or so years ago, but they called me and told me that they had a specific prohibition against it, in writing, from TriMet. (Those "We respect Civil Rights" posters on the bus should say "except for transgendered persons.") I switched to Kaiser because my doctor moved there; she is able to get hormones to me because I am officially female, and thus the prohibition is thwarted.

I tried again to get at least an orchiectomy in '07, since the testosterone blockers had started poisoning me, but TriMet stands firm against medical care for transgendered people. So, my choices were (a) give up and live as a (very) hairy male gendered person, (b) allow the medicine to kill me, or (c) castrate myself. So I castrated myself.

I realize that isn't very encouraging. I actually came up with a plan to raise money with WePay donations and benefit concerts, but I can't do that (yet) because any proceeds would be confiscated by my bankruptcy. So I offer that to you: contact SMYRC or another glbtq organization, and try to set that up. In any event it's worth talking to SMYRC.

You seem to imply that your problem is surgical complications rather than gender-changing surgery, so maybe Kaiser would help with that. Kaiser works pretty well once you have an advocate within the system, so try to get a good GP on your side.

best

Theresa