Thursday, January 31, 2008

Personal update, trans health access

I know there are some of you have been aware of my struggle to improve health coverage at my employer for trans related healthcare for some time. My employeer (LGBT community center) actaully has good coverage, and one of the only plans where some things are covered..unfortunately they have some bad exclusions. They have (seemingly arbritarily, although I am sure it is based on some useage data or something) have decided that top surgery for trans men is not medically necessary--but bottom surgeries are.

From the very first day I started as a full time employee I have inquired about our insurance coverage. For the last 6 months (well for the last year and a half, but more aggressively for the last 6 months) I feel like I have put a lot on the line to stand up for what I think is just and right (my financial stability, my time, physical and mental health, my job, and parts of my community) in this grievance/emotional battle over health insurance coverage for my transition related health needs. I think even worse or more draining is that I put my own body on the line...advocating with, about, for my own body which took much more of an emotional toll than I thought it would.

And then...there are some movements on the issue...and this is supposed to feel like a victory...but all I feel are directionless and exposed and tired. And I suppose this is what organizing feels like....and I am not least not mostly. I have people I am consulting with and others who I am helping as well.....but everything is so strange, still. Maybe it is also because I am not a person who has ever advocated for myself and all of this is drumming up old self-worth issues. That I am valuable because I exist...that I am valuable because of many of my identities and that my basic health maintenance needs should be covered. If there was any internalized transphobie laying around..that's definitely been cleared out through this process....

Somewhere in the midst of this I forgot how to have fun, and fuck and enjoy it, and take walks and think and read and cook..and to get by have gone back on some psych meds (which oddly enough seems to be the most difficult part to write about)

Of course to cope I have been working 60 hours a week and I'm fine as long as I don't stop moving and working.....*sigh* I'm working on all this stuff and working on working less and getting back to myself.

I am trying to find time to celebrate some successes, even if they didn't come about in the ways I expected. I am also trying to do a better job of taking stock of my mental, physical, and emotional needs while doing this work beucase this is work I would like to do long term..and I know that even this I started at my place of employement, has just begun.

So, all this post was supposed to be was to let everyone know that I have a surgery date, Feb. 26th!!!---and all that shit came out. But I guess what I want folks to know is yes I'm happy and yes I am over-joyed..and yes I feel like I can move on with parts of my life and move on in doing the work I want to do becuase I'm finally going to have some of my basic health maintaince needs meet.....but the problem is not solved at my place of employment or for pretty much any other LGBT or LGBT friendly nonprofit in the state of Michigan. The solution (which I can't fully disclose) was beautiful and temporary.

I'll probably write more on this sometime soon. I haven't been able to talk about it while I was in the grievance process. I would also like to share some of the documents and letters I wrote, in hope that they might be helpful for others doing this work.

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