When you’re transgender, you will most likely go under the knife at some point. Some trans men undergo ‘top surgery’, a procedure to remove the breasts and sculpt pectorals, and possibly ‘bottom surgery’, a surgery to create a working penis. Trans women will most likely get top surgery to create breasts and bottom surgery to create a working vagina.
These surgeries are commonly called ‘gender reassignment surgeries’ or ‘gender affirmation surgeries.’ People who want these surgeries want them in order to pass as their gender in society, and to be comfortable in their own skin.
If you looked at yourself in the mirror everyday and were driven to tears by it, you might seek out surgery too.
According to a 2014 study done by AFSP-Williams, “…respondents who said they had received transition-related health care or wanted to have it someday were more likely to report having attempted suicide than those who said they did not want it. This pattern was observed across all transition-related services and procedures that were explored in the NTDS.” It’s important to note here that they did not note when the suicide attempts took place–though another study claims that, “Altogether the study results imply that sex reassignment surgery has an overall positive effect on partial aspects, such as mental health, sexuality, life satisfaction, and quality of life.”
If all these studies are pointing to trans people needing surgery to live their lives happily, or to live it at all, shouldn’t it be considered anything but a cosmetic surgery? Shouldn’t insurance help with it? But gender affirmation surgery is still listed as a cosmetic surgery because it involves plastic surgeons. If your insurance doesn’t exclude transgender healthcare all together, then there’s a good chance that it’s barely covered.
Aren’t trans people entitled to a full life? For many, that means transitioning and being allowed to re-enter society as the person they were meant to be. But when you’re a poor trans person, with insurance that doesn’t cover anything, you don’t get to transition at all. Even a good chest binder (for trans men) are upwards of 50$, and bras (for trans women) are extremely expensive. Even sports bras are a typically 20-25$. Bottom surgeries can cost as much as 150,000$, to give you an example. Top surgeries can cost up to 9,000$ – 10,000$
Without being able to surgically transition for many years (or at all) most trans people are forced to bind their chest, tuck their genitals, and cause physical harm to their bodies in an effort to pass. If you’re thinking ‘why do that?’, imagine waking up as the opposite sex. You’re no longer your name, your pronouns, your looks.
Trans people do that because they have no choice. They can be harassed for not passing, it can cause mental health issues, it can make it extremely difficult to exist.
Why aren’t trans people allowed to transition and live happily just like everyone else?