Gender Reassignment Surgeries Are Non-Essential Amid The Coronavirus
According to Vice News, transgender people having their gender reassignment surgeries pushed due to the COVID-19 crisis, and some are left hanging without a set rescheduled date. These surgeries are being canceled by doctors amid the current health conditions because they are deemed not essential and resources must be kept for those battling the current virus plaguing the nation. It is not just health resources but now the timing issues COVID is creating. One transgender woman, a teacher, may now be in jeopardy not only because salary issues may occur if she will not have time to recover while she’s on summer break. Another case highlighted involves a transgender man having his top surgery rescheduled on him for the third time. The reassignment surgery waitlist is long and, under the Obama Administration, is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid due to a lack of evidence that the surgery benefits patients. Basically, it’s hard to get coverage for these surgeries and cancellations or postponed appointment dates are of course damaging to the person who wants their body to match the gender they identify as.
But we can see that the medical system is strained right now and we may not even be at the height of the epidemic. Healthcare workers are literally reusing face masks as hospitals are running low on supplies. Most of us are currently in quarantine so we won’t overrun the health care system as not everyone will get a bed or resources if we all rush to the hospital. It’s simple math that adds up to elective surgeries, such as breast jobs, rhinoplasty, dental procedures – they need to be and have been canceled. Someone who truly wishes to have that award winning smile is going to be grinning in photographs for the near future, but they will need to just wait a little longer.
But are gender reassignment surgeries not listed as essential because many feel they do not affect the immediate health of the patient? To be honest, yes, it may help the mental health of the patient, but it could potentially put the patient in danger of being in a hospital with Coronavirus running amuck, adding an unwanted variable and making recovery more stressful. A delay in a gender reassignment procedure is upsetting especially since some have desired the surgery for years and even decades and now that all the variables, money, time tables are all aligned, this unfortunate delay comes along. But in most cases a delay in gender reassignment surgeries will not be life threatening. Some states like Ohio,have even deemed abortions to be non-essential during this strange time of unprecedented panic.
We can all empathize the frustration, hurt, and struggle that is happening to those seeking and scheduled for gender reassignment surgery. However, everyone’s lives have been uprooted, people have lost jobs, you can’t leave your house, every single person wants to hook-up, and people are literally dying. And no, healthcare is not balanced, not fair, and not for everyone. Even though the Kardashians have received their Corona test kits, we as a community need to make decisions that focus on the general public and those who may have serious issues. Some of these decisions will be hard and may cause us to be selfless,a focus on the good for the entire world not just one person, Kris Jenner.
Once this COVID-19 is less of a threat and resources are growing back to the level of comfort, we can look at those very important gender reassignment surgeries that will help with the physical, emotional, and mental health of our transgender brothers and sisters. This isn’t the end – for any of us, but some things in life will have to be on pause.
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.