November 20th is the Trans Day of Remembrance, a day observed annually by the trans communities and allies to the trans community on Nov. 20 to honor those lost from anti-trans violence. For more than twenty years, this day has served as an important and solemn tradition, as many of the systemic causes of violence toward our trans siblings have yet to be addressed or eradicated.
Often, when we think about the term violence, and how it’s used in the media, we think about physical acts. But violence can take many forms; it can be systemic, institutional, emotional, or mental. As an organization dedicated to improving sexual and reproductive health care in our four-state region, we know this to be true. Violence against the trans community, in all forms, is a national health crisis.
Within health care, there are still many barriers that restrict access to reproductive and sexual health care for members of the trans community. In June, President Trump reversed protections for trans patients, allowing health care providers to refuse to treat or provide emergency medical services to all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Many members of the trans community feel discomfort in seeking out care from anyone other than their primary care provider, because of uncertainty about how they’ll be treated in the exam room and what kind of invasive questions may be asked of them.
One of the most significant ways in which the trans community is affected by systemic violence in health care is that many gender-affirming services, including hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries, are not covered by all health insurance policies or public health care options, like Medicaid. This means that many trans patients are forced to pay out of pocket for these services. Because there’s a direct correlation between positive mental health and access to gender-affirming care, denial of this care is a direct act of violence against the trans community.
Providing affordable, accessible gender-affirming care is something that we are proud to do at Planned Parenthood Great Plains. Together, we care for all. For more information about the Trans Day of Remembrance, visit GLAAD.