Thursday, June 19, 2008

Congress to Hold First Ever Hearing on Transgender Issues

Today the US House of Representatives announced America's first Congressional Hearing on transgender issues. The hearing, "An Examination of Discrimination Against Transgender Americans in the Workplace," is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 10:30 am in room 2175 of Rayburn House Office Building. Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) called the hearing as Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee of the Committee on Education and Labor.

Committee hearings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend in person if you are in the area, but please be aware that space is limited. Some hearings are broadcast on CSPAN and streamed live through their internet site - we will keep you informed as we hear more details about the hearing.

For more information on the Committee on Education and Labor see their website:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

RESOLUTION 122 Has Passed

Subject: Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients

Whereas, Our American Medical Association opposes discrimination on
the basis of gender identity; and

Whereas, Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a serious medical condition
recognized as such in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV) and the International
Classification of Diseases (10th Revision); and is characterized in
the DSM-IV as a persistent discomfort with one's assigned sex and with
one's primary and secondary sex characteristics, which causes intense
emotional pain and suffering; and

Whereas, GID, if left untreated, can result in clinically significant
psychological distress, dysfunction, debilitating depression and, for
some people without access to appropriate medical care and treatment,
suicidality and death; and

Whereas, The World Profession for Transgender Health, Inc. (WPATH) is
the leading international, interdisciplinary professional organization
devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender identity
disorders, and has established internationally accepted Standards of
Care for providing medical treatment of people with GID, including
mental health care, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery,
which are designed to promote the health and welfare of persons with
GID and are recognized within the medical community to be the standard
of care for treating people with GID; and

Whereas, An established body of medical research demonstrates the
effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone
therapy, and sex reassignment surgery as forms
of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID; and

Whereas, Health experts in GID, including WPATH, have rejected the
myth that such treatments are "cosmetic" or "experimental" and have
recognized that these treatments can provide safe and effective
treatment for a serious health condition; and

Whereas, Physicians treating persons with GID must be able to provide
the correct treatment necessary for a patient in order to achieve
genuine and lasting comfort with his or her gender, based on the
person's individual needs and medical history; and

Whereas, Our AMA opposes limitations placed on patient care by third-
party payers when such care is based upon sound scientific evidence
and sound medical opinion; and

Whereas, Many health insurance plans categorically exclude coverage of
mental health, medical, and surgical treatments for GID, even though
many of these same treatments, such as psychotherapy, hormone therapy,
breast augmentation or removal, hysterectomy, oophorectomy,
orchiectomy, and salpingectomy, are often covered for other medical
conditions; and

Whereas, The denial of these otherwise covered benefits for patients
suffering from GID represents discrimination based solely on a
patient's gender identity; and

Whereas, Delaying treatment for GID can cause and/or aggravate
additional serious and expensive health problems, such as stress-
related physical illnesses, depression, and substance abuse problems,
which further endanger patients' health and strain the health care
system; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support public and
private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity
disorder as recommended by the patient¢s physician. (New HOD Policy).

GLAD Applauds AMA's Support for Transgender Health Care

AMA Resolution Calls for Insurance Coverage

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauded the American
Medical Association' s (AMA) support for transgender health care, declared
today by a resolution passed by the AMA's House of Delegates.

Meeting in Chicago, the House of Delegates passed a resolution
entitled "Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients,
" which states "Resolved, that our American Medical Association support
public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity
disorder as recommended by the patient's physician."

Getting appropriate medical care, from psychotherapy to hormone
therapy to any range of surgeries, is a struggle for most transgender people
due to prejudice, ignorance, and simple discrimination, said Jennifer Levi,
director of GLAD's Transgender Rights Project:

"This resolution is hugely important, coming from the country's most
respected medical organization. Transgender people have to climb over so
many barriers in order to get appropriate care, not the least of which is
insurance coverage. The AMA resolution should help providers, insurers,
courts and legislatures put gender identity disorder in itsproper context –
as a treatable health condition that insurers should cover without
discrimination. "

GLAD's work to challenge bias in health care against transgender
people includes its current litigation of the U.S. Tax Court case,
O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in which the IRS
refused to consider deductible the medical expenses associated
with care of treatment of Rhiannon O'Donnabhain' s gender
identity disorder.

"The questions that were raised in Rhiannon's case about the
legitimacy of the GID diagnosis and appropriateness of its care and
treatment are all answered in the affirmative by this AMA resolution,"
commented Levi. "This resolution firmly contradicts the IRS's
position that gender identity disorder is without a medical basis or
that there is any question about the effectiveness of the established
treatments for it."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New England Transgender Pride March Press Coverage

Out of the closet and onto the streets
By James F. Lowe, Daily Hampshire Gazette

NORTHAMPTON, June 09, 2008 They wore short shorts and stiletto heels, pulled off their shirts to reveal mastectomy scars, displayed name tags that also gave each wearer's preferred pronoun, and carried signs that read "I am a child of God" and "Gender isn't binary." more...

I had to pay a $1.99 subscription to read the article.