Transitioning: Transgender Surgery May not Be the Hard Part
Now that society is beginning to embrace transgender citizens, life must be better for those who were “born in the wrong body,” right?
Yes and no. There’s no denying that transgender people are benefiting from more attention in the media. With a handful or two of celebrities proudly “out,” transgender citizens are increasingly able to live the way that’s right for them.
An article in last month’s Marie Claire magazine detailed challenges transgender people still contend with quite clearly, however, especially if they’re interested in transition surgery.
Discrimination underlies many issues individuals face when they don’t quite fit the status quo of the heterosexual world. A quick scan of this year’s articles in The Huffington Post finds stories of discrimination in the workplace, bias in the military, violence against transgender women and even ongoing discrimination in the medical world. One horror story detailed the nightmare a transgender man faced when his doctor refused to communicate with him about his breast cancer diagnosis.
Grappling with the fact that your body doesn’t reflect your true identity is difficult, but the world still finds ways to make life even harder for transgender citizens.
Cost of Transitioning
According to Marie Claire, the cost of making a male to female (MTF) or female to male (FTM) transition is expensive, and depending on how far an individual wants to go, it can be prohibitive.
The magazine reports that hormone treatment – a basic step to take after name and wardrobe changes – can cost around $100 per month. Top surgery, which is the term most people use to describe breast augmentation or reduction for MTF and FTM patients, costs a few to several thousand dollars. Genital surgery costs even more.
Keeping in mind the discrimination many transgender individuals bear, they tend to face higher rates of poverty, noted one expert quoted in the Marie Claire article. It’s harder for a transgender person to get a good job, and not many have the resources Caitlin Jenner has.
Getting insurance reimbursement for transgender surgery remains tricky. First, transgender people don’t always have medical coverage, due to job issues or other challenges. And insurance companies have traditionally viewed transgender surgery as “cosmetic” rather than medically necessary. Thankfully the situation is changing. Several states have established regulations that require insurance companies to cover sex-reassignment operations.
If You’re Seeking Transgender Surgery
The good news for transgender individuals today is that for many of even modest means, it is possible to find a way to have surgery. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking.
– In our practice in New York, transgender surgery is like any other procedure, and MTF and FTM surgery is routine for us. We embrace and embody diversity here. Find a practice with the same philosophy – you should know by their website. Call or contact them online to be sure.
– Start saving for your procedure. We offer some tips on our website dedicated to guys with man boobs here.
– Look into whether financing surgery might be appropriate for you. Along with many plastic surgeons, we work with Care Credit. You can gather information from their site.
– Be prepared for a possible battle with your insurance company and perhaps an appeal if coverage is denied. Gathering letters from your doctor and counselor can help, as can evidence of hormone therapy and other measures you might have taken.
– As a last resort, you can consider finding out if a teaching hospital accepts transition patients. A student would operate you on with supervision by a senior surgeon. Your results may not be perfect, but if your budget just won’t bear any cost, this option might work for you.
We would love to offer our assistance if you seek transgender surgery in New York or could fly-in to work with us. We’ll assist you in your insurance strategy, if you like. And although we can’t accept coverage for payment, we can submit the claim to the insurance company for you.
No matter where your quest to live authentically may lead, we wish you the best! Call us if we can be of help: 212-570-6080.