Transgender People Under Attack Around the World

Trans rights are under attack around the globe. 25 states in the US, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK have all restricted access to gender care for minors in the past year. While places like Hungary, Bulgaria and Russia explicitly deny people the ability to live transgender lives, at all.

Historically speaking, this certainly feels like pushback against the decade of positive progress made at home and around the world on trans rights and access to care.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) established legal protections for transgender healthcare in the form of a non-discrimination clause. Over the next few years, the tireless work of advocates and allies across the country led to trans healthcare being covered by essentially all the large insurance companies in the US, including Medicare, Medicaid and Medi-cal (California’s Medicaid program). This is a fact of history that is rarely talked about.

The Affordable Care Act, partnered with the work of these advocates, opened up the door to trans healthcare in the US in 2010. Before the ACA, trans healthcare was only accessible by a wealthy few in the US; those willing and able to travel to Thailand or other friendly countries and pay out of pocket for care.

For the next decade, the accessiblity and quality of trans healthcare in the US grew. However, over the last few years, states began pushing back against this access. A culture war is fully in progress over the issue, with trans rights in the news regularly. Opponents are starting by targeting children, as it is easy to stir up fear regarding people’s children. But targeting kids is only the first step in a greater strategy to limit access to care, sports and freedom of expression for trans folks of all ages.

As a trans person in the US who has access to care protected by the state of California, it can be easy to forget or ignore the very real plight of those living elsewhere. The reality is that families with trans youth have had to move out of states like Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida in order to continue care. Where 5 years ago it was becoming easier for all Americans to receive trans care at home, we have now regressed back to pre-2010 realities, where many families have to cross borders just to get care.

From a health equity perspective, this is a very real disaster and epidemic, with huge consequences to trans folks health and mental health across our country.


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