No Country for Transgender People

July 9, 2012

Still Human!

A little over a year ago, I helped a transgender person apply for health insurance. This was the first time I knowingly met this kind of person. My father was against people like that and anyone else who wasn’t “normal.” I grew up in an impoverished neighborhood where those who weren’t “normal” were frowned upon. I was even called gay in public school for not being “normal.” So there was no room for positive discussion where I grew up on transgender people or anyone else who didn’t fit the definition of normal.

I never had negative thoughts about transgender people. I didn’t think about them until college. In college, I learned about their struggles from talking to people on campus and in my Gender and Sexuality class. So when the transgender person came to apply for health insurance with me, I was prepared to not overacted. I understood the concept of one feeling like there aren’t the right gender. To change your gender is a long, expensive and challenging task.

I usually address people how they would like to be addressed. I addressed her how she wanted to be addressed. I felt that she deserved my love and respect. Anyone who takes the steps to change their gender should be respected. They aren’t animals. They are as human as everyone else. Every human should treat others as they want to be treated.

After I took her documents and did the application for her, everything seemed to check out. After my boss reviewed the application, she raised the concern of her gender. I explained the case and pleaded with her to submit the application. She did. A few weeks later, the application came back from the Human Resources Administration (HRA). HRA’s response said that the woman had to apply at a Medicaid office.

I was really upset. Why did she had to be subjected to spending a whole day at a public office to apply for health insurance? My office exist so people wouldn’t have to do that. At my office, the most people wait to be seen is 30 minutes, and they are treated better than if they went to a public office. A person like her shouldn’t have to endure extra hoops just to live. She already is enduring a lot to make her change complete. She should be treated like everyone else!

I mean what more do they want? Do they want to see her naked when the process is complete to prove she is a woman? It broke my heart to have to call her to tell the news. I don’t like having to call people back, but this one hurt the most. I never wanted to be in my boss’ position so bad, so I could fight for her. This experience will forever be in my mind. I hope and pray things get easier for her. I hope and pray things get easier for all transgender people and those who aren’t considered “normal.”


One comment

  1. Absolutely true. There’s actually a name for this social error: One of us/One of them bias. Who we consider different should stay away from us.

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