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Trump Administration Rolls Back Health Care Protections for Trans People

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What Happened: In the middle of LGBTQ Pride month, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it will roll back health care protections for trans people. The decision is based on language in the Affordable Care Act that makes it illegal for health providers and insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of sex. A Barack Obama-era rule defined sex to extend to gender, which included trans and nonbinary folks. Trump’s rule change puts the well-being of trans people at risk.

I can relate a decade of stories about getting terrible health care because I’m trans. We walk into any given health care situation not knowing whether doctors are going to treat us well, whether we’re going to get high quality care, whether any given, random health care person is going to be terrible to us. — Mari Brighe, NPR

What This MeansThe Trump administration’s reversal of discrimination protections based on sex instead of gender will make it more difficult for trans individuals to get necessary treatment. NPR, for example, highlighted that the rule allows health care providers to refuse service to trans people or deny necessary procedures such as ovarian cancer treatment for trans men.

The Frontlines: Advocates say weakening protections for trans and gender non-confirming people in health care will worsen health outcomes for the trans community.

  • Nearly 20% of trans people report they have been denied health care coverage because they are transgender
  • Even among trans individuals who receive health care, more than 50% said their providers don’t understand their health needs
  • Trans people are also at higher risk for mental health issues — 38 to 65% of trans people report having suicidal ideation

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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Lennie, explained how a doctor dismissed their chronic pain because they are trans. “He tries to tell me that being trans literally in and of itself causes pain on the human body, without a shred of hesitation or self-awareness for how medically incorrect and totally laughable that sounds. He tells me to just go to therapy because I’m trans.” You can submit your first person story, too.

From our community:

tips on dealing with non-binary/ ftm trans dysphoria?

Add your voice: 

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Other things to know: If this news is hard for you, you’re not alone. Read more from others in the trans community with these Mighty articles.

What’s Next: While the Department of Health and Human Services’ ruling is set to go into effect in August, it may still face challenges in the courts. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that existing provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace. This latest ruling gives the LGBTQ community hope the Trump administration’s health care decision will also be struck down.

Header image via nito100/Getty Images

Originally published: June 15, 2020
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