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  • Writer's pictureAriel Tovlev

Anti-Trans Legislation

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

The government's attempt to roll back trans healthcare protections is personal to me.

Between 2014-2015, I spent an entire year trying to get access to hormones so I could begin medical transition. I was living in Orange County, California. I had health insurance. My health insurance included specialists, such as endocrinologists, which were the only doctors writing prescriptions for hormones at the time. However, neither my insurance nor I could find a single doctor in Orange County willing to discuss hormone treatment with me. Office after office I called, people either responded with laughter or disgust.

So I tried in LA. Los Angeles was considered one of the largest, most liberal cities in America, and yet I could not find a single doctor that would take my insurance and write a prescription for hormones.

I called Planned Parenthood. The receptionist literally laughed at me when I asked if they had someone who could write me a script. When I asked why they advertised trans healthcare if they don't provide hormone treatments, they responded, "because we will not turn you away from regular medical treatment just because you're trans." It was a sobering reminder that other places could legally let me bleed out and die.

"Providing trans healthcare," to PP, meant an assurance that I would at least be seen as a human being. I would not be given the specific care I needed, but I would not be murdered, and this was radical enough for them to advertise. Think about that for a second. It used to be so commonplace for doctors to refuse ANY medical treatment to trans people, even life-saving treatment, that simply being willing to treat a trans person was worthy of advertisement.

I ended up finding one place that would write me a prescription. It was in LA and I had to take off work for my appointment. The doctor showed up an hour and a half late. He misgendered me the whole time. He didn't take insurance, and the visit cost $150, and the hormones cost $150. If I wanted a regular prescription, I would have to repeat that process every other month -- taking a full day off work and spending $300. I couldn't afford that.

I ended up moving to Minneapolis, partly because they offered trans healthcare there. I needed to live in a place where I had access to trans medical care, where I could use insurance for my medical care, and where I could trust the doctors to respect my identity.

California is better now than it was when I left in 2015. They now offer trans healthcare, and I'm not experiencing the difficulty I did before. But I remember what it's like.

To the gay people who think this is about you: when was the last time you were refused medical care? When was the last time you had to move states to get access to healthcare?

I have a trans friend who has likened trans people to the canary in the coal mine -- which I think is a good metaphor. Once they start taking away protections for trans people, the most hated of the LGBTQ community, the LGBQ people are certainly next. But not yet. This does not remove protections for sexual orientation. It only removes protections for gender identity. This is specifically targeting trans people.

I keep seeing headlines and posts saying, "Trump removes medical protections for LGBTQ people." This is not about the entire LGBTQ community, not yet. This is about the trans community. Trump is removing protections for trans people. Please don't erase us in this. Please call this what it is -- Trump trying to take protections away from trans people.

Trans people have been refused medical care because they're trans. This would make it legal for a doctor to allow me to die in their care because their religion disagrees with my existence. This is going to result in real people dying. Most likely those people will be black trans women, the most vulnerable and attacked within the trans community.

I remember what it feels like to have doctors laugh at you, tell you they won't treat you. I remember what it feels like to be told I should be grateful to receive any healthcare at all, because that is not a given for trans people. I remember what it feels like to pack up everything I own and leave, because healthcare is not seen as a right for trans people.

Trans people are scared we're going to lose access to our medical care. We're scared we're not going to get hormones or surgeries or other trans-specific care. But we're also worried that we're going to get in a car accident, an EMT is going to find out we're trans, and they're going to make fun of us as we die in front of them. We're worried medical professionals will kill us through neglect, and it will be their legal right to do so.

As a white transmasculine person, I'm among the more privileged members of the trans community. But I've already had to uproot my life because of healthcare. I know what it's like to not have access to healthcare, to have doctors refuse to treat you. This is serious. And it is specifically trans-antagonistic.

This is attempted murder of trans people. Please, help us.

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