Recently, the Trump Administration proposed new guidance that would roll back health care protections for trans, non-native English speakers, and other vulnerable communities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. This would revoke previous guidance issued by the Obama Administration that clarified that discrimination “on the basis of sex” includes discrimination against trans and other non-binary individuals. Young people overwhelmingly support both transgender rights and The Affordable Care Act, and YI has mobilized against this punitive and unfounded rule. We are gathering comments against the proposed rule – submit a comment before the August 13th deadline.
YI recently spoke with Travis Rose-Davis, a 20-year-old trans man living in New York, to get his perspective on the challenges that trans people face in health care and what this rule would mean for the trans community. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.
Q: Have you experienced health care discrimination because of being trans?
A: Maybe a few times recently when I called to change my name or something like that – the directions were unclear and the way they gave the directions came off a bit harsh, but overall not too much.
Q: Have you ever avoided going to the doctor or seeking out health care because of fear of discrimination? If so, what was that episode like?
A: I did not like my experience [at one health care center] and never went back. It made me not want to seek health care. After a while, I went to The Door and other places like that where there was much more approachable people. But for a while after that first experience, I didn’t want to seek health care services anymore because of that bad experience.
Q: Because New York has enacted state-level protections, this rollback won’t affect you directly – but why do you think it’s important for people nationwide to be protected from discrimination?
A: If they don’t have the health care then they can’t get tested, they can’t get the hormone treatment, they can’t go through their procedures where you have people dealing with dysphoria – it’s a lot. Mentally too – in the trans community people’s mental health services are a big deal. There are so many services that you need that get taken away if health care is harder to access – simple things people should have but will lose access to, which would be very unfortunate.
Q: What would your message be to the Trump Administration, which is considering rolling back protections for trans people nationwide?
A: Trans people are just people too. It’s not like we’re paying more or less [than other people] – we still need health care, we still need coverage. Trans people are just people – we just go through a different path in life. It’s all just a stigma – they’re making people seem bad, but if you get to know these people, it will change your mind.
The Trump Administration is currently soliciting comments on the proposed rule, which not only targets trans individuals like Travis but also other vulnerable communities like non-English speakers and pregnant people. Comments really matter – the administration, by law, is required to consider and address all substantive comments entered into the record. Submit your story about why health care discrimination matters to #ProtectTransHealth and #PutPatientsFirst – and take a stand for health care rights for all Americans.