Regarding the letter “Medicare: Shouldn’t cover elective surgery”: Let’s clarify the necessity of transgender health care and the need for sexual reassignment surgery, or SRS. For far too long the need for services for this minority of the population has been great and the access has been very limited. It has been popular for far too long to label transgender care as elective and thereby deny access. Insurance companies, the legislature and employers have all carried the banner of “elective care” as an excuse to deny Washington citizens access to safe and effective life-saving care.
Transgender health care is very much a medically necessary care system. SRS is no more an elective procedure than correcting a cleft pallet or repairing a heart defect. It is a necessity, not a choice. No one “chooses” to be hated and ridiculed for the simple reason of wanting to be comfortable in their own skin. It has long been medically established as a much needed medical service. Far too many transgender people have taken their own lives for the sole reason of an inability to access proper healthcare. Let’s stop making excuses, justifying prejudice and being callous about the very real and medically necessary need for health care for transgender Americans.