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Obamacare Expanding Healthcare Access For Trans People

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A growing number of low-income people who identify as transgender are finding that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is making it easier for them to transition. One of Obamacare’s key components is the requirement that health care providers provide coverage for all people interested in purchasing policies, regardless of whether or not they have pre-existing conditions.

Previously gender identity disorder, the psychological description of a dysphoria associated with one’s birth sex and assigned gender, was frequently used both to disqualify people from purchasing health plans and as a justification for denying certain forms of coverage. By making health care generally more affordable and divorcing coverage from employers, Obamacare is removing many of the barriers that trans-identified people have traditionally had to deal with

“The system isn’t perfect — low-income people buying insurance through a state exchange will still have to pay monthly fees — but it’s an improvement over the current setup,” Transgender Law Center Project Health program manager Anand Kalra explained to the Advocate:

“[A]ll plans sold through state exchanges have to provide coverage for 10 ‘Essential Health Benefits,’ which include, among others, preventative care, reproductive health, prescription drugs, mental health care, and treatment for substance abuse.”

Increased access to a broader network of healthcare practitioners is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address all of the infrastructural healthcare difficulties faced by the the trans-community. There are far fewer general practitioners that specialize in trans-health issues. Moreover, while insurance companies can no longer out and out deny trans-identified people coverage simply for being trans, the approval process for many  medical procedures commonly associated with trans-people can be arduous.

"It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery," Devin Payn recounted to Kaiser Health News. "Trying to do this without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong ... not having the money to pay for it would be awful."


Transgender LGBT Advocate Allyson Robinson Ordained Baptist Minister - VIDEO

LGBT advocate and army veteran Allyson Robinson became one of the few openly transgender pastors in the U.S. when she was ordained last month at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., reports Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

6a00d8341c730253ef019103bcd4ff970c-800wiSharon Groves, HRC’s Director of Religion and Faith Program, said:

"We at HRC who have had the privilege of working with her for years are excited to see her gifts put to good use at Calvary Baptist Church.

"Allyson Robinson is a born preacher and pastor who inspires everyone she meets. I have had the privilege of working closely with her and with Calvary Baptist Church, which is leading to new conversations among Baptists and all people of faith. Together they are one powerful combination.  

"As summer comes to an end and families are coming back to church after their summer break, they would do well to check out the prophetic ministry happening at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C."

Last year, Robinson featured in and acted as a consultant on web-funded series TransMilitary, which focused on the unique struggles of transgender service members on active duty. She was the first transgender leader of a national LGBT rights organization until she was asked last year to resign as executive director of LGBT military group Outserve_SLDN.

Robinson is also founder of boutique consulting firm Warrior Poet Strategies and Vice President at LGBT Tech Partnership.

Watch Allyson speak about her transgender journey at a TedX talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Transgender LGBT Advocate Allyson Robinson Ordained Baptist Minister - VIDEO" »


Mills College Becomes First All-Women's School to Welcome Transgender Students

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Yesterday, Mills College in Oakland, California, became the first all-women’s college in the U.S. to openly welcome transgender and gender nonconforming students, reports Think Progress.

Last December, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill providing unprecedented protections for transgender students in the state.

Mills College is one of 119 single-sex universities across the U.S., 48 of which are women’s colleges.

According to Brian O’Rourke, vice president of enrollment and admissions, about three to five of the college’s 1,000 undergraduates identify as transgender or gender non-conforming every year.

The new policy allows for numerous ways to accommodate transgender students while still maintaining an identity as a women’s college:

  • The college welcome any student who self-identifies as a woman, regardless of what sex she was assigned at birth.

  • Applicants “who do not fit into the gender binary” are welcome provided they were assigned “female” at birth.

  • Female students who enroll but later identify as a man may stay and graduate.

  • The policy does not apply to undergraduate students who were assigned “female” at birth but who already legally identify as a man.

Last month we reported that George Fox University in Oregon and The California Baptist University continue to legally discriminate against transgender students.  Under exemptions, George Fox University can legally discriminate against a transgender student who identifies as a man and was refused permission to reside in housing for male students.  In The California Baptist University case, a scholarship student was expelled by the university on the basis of “fraud” after she appeared on a reality television program to discuss her transgender identity.


Chelsea Manning Says Military Is Still Denying Her Gender Reassignment Treatment

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Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning has released a statement from prison saying that the military has given her nothing but "lip service" regarding the gender-reassignment treatment that she asked for this time last year. 

NBC News reports:

In an exclusive statement to NBC News, the former Army private once known as Bradley Manning said life in the military lockup at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, has restricted her ability to express her gender identity. "For example, in my daily life, I am reminded of this when I look at the name on my badge, the first initial sewed into my clothing, the hair and grooming standards that I adhere to, and the titles and courtesies used by the staff. Ultimately, I just want to be able to live my life as the person that I am, and to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin."

Last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Manning would receive "rudimentary treatment" for her gender transition. Manning's lawyers, however, have said that the military has failed to carry out Hagel's recommendations. Her lawyers announced last week that they will sue the military if the Army fails to provide manning with treatment by September 4. 

Read Manning's statement HERE


Congressional Staffers Blocked From Making Changes On Wikipedia After Anti-Trans Edits Surface

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Someone using an IP address linked to Capitol Hill has been making anti-trans edits on Wikipedia pages - and it's been happening all month long. Twitterbot @congressedits has tracked the activity which is coming from somewhere within Congress and the program has created a record of those edits on the several of the site's pages, such as one on transphobia.

Business Insider reports:

LavIt's impossible to know whether the edits are coming from one or multiple users, but the changes come from an IP address, 143.231.249.138, that has repeatedly been linked to House of Representatives computers. In the "talk" discussion section of one article, an individual making the changes has also claimed to be a staffer on Capitol Hill.

The anonymous user has demonstrated a relatively specific focus on transgender topics. For example, a Wednesday edit to the "Tranny" article changed the phrase "assigned sex" to "biological sex" — a term that has been criticized as transphobic. Articles on "body integrity identity disorder" and "gender identity disorder" were also edited. Even the Wikipedia article on transphobia was edited on Tuesday to include an external link — since been removed for its reported "hateful or abusive content" — defending transphobia.

"This article is too pro-trans," the user complained after his or her edit was removed. "When I attempted to add an alternative point of view regarding this topic ... it was reverted right away."

A Wikipedia editor blocked the IP address due to numerous offensive adjustments several times this month already but on Wednesday, the website decided to put a stop to any further hate speech by barring all Congress staff members from making edits on the site.

According to The Hill, transphobic new edits that surfaced on Wednesday afternoon related to actress Laverne Cox led to the wide ban:

The final straw came on Wednesday afternoon, when someone from the House edited the page for the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black” to change the characterization of an actor from “a real transgender woman” to “a real man pretending to be a woman.”

GLAAD responded later that afternoon:

"It's chilling to think that this dangerous misinformation about transgender Americans could be coming from our nation's Capitol," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "At a time when transgender people still face horrific rates of violence, trailblazers like Laverne Cox are helping millions understand that ignorance like this can have life-threatening consequences."​​


New Jersey School Backs Down, Allows Transgender Teen To Enroll as a Girl

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Rachel Pepe, a transgender student from New Jersey who we reported earlier this week was refused permission to return to school using her new gender identity, has since had her refusal reversed by school administrators.

Last year, Pepe attended Thorne Middle School in Middletown, New Jersey, but when she tried to register for classes with her new gender identity, the school district said she would have to return using her birth name “Brian.”

Pepe’s mother Angela Peters said at the time that the school failed to engage with her on proposed solutions to the problem.

However, the superintendent of the school district, William O. George, has since announced that he will work with staff to make sure Rachel can attend school in a safe environment. George also said Middletown Township Public Schools staff would undergo LGBT sensitivity training, reports Huffington Post.

"We as a district want to do everything we can as a district," George told the Asbury Park Press. "Every child is different and their education and social and emotional well being is my priority. We will work with them to find the appropriate placement."

Back in April, the Department of Education issued new guidance that made it clear Title IX law protects transgender students from discrimination.


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