Colorado is changing LGBTQ+ lives. They have announced a new plan to incorporate gender-affirming care as an essential health care benefit. This is a huge win for the LGBTQ+ community. It has not been an easy road to getting equality in healthcare and we are still very far away from that but it is always exciting seeing states doing their part to help. This law will require private health insurance carriers to cover hormone therapy, facial feminization, and top surgery. It is intended to take effect in 2023. The law has even been green-lighted by the Biden-Harris administration. It aligns with the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to increase access and decrease discrimination in health care for transgender persons. Many other states have laws in place to assist in gender discrimination but Colorado has looked at that that and said “thats not good enough.”
In an article by the Movement Advancement Project, the author shows that 24 states and D.C. prohibit Transgender exclusions in health insurance service coverage. (as seen in the map below) This is a great start to the equality needed in this country. We are almost half way to all of the states not discriminating based on gender identity! I know this is not something to be too excited about, since there should be no discrimination in the first place, but sometimes it is good to celebrate any win you can get, no matter if it is big or small.
A press release from Human Health Services states that the gender affirming care bill will include treatments such as “eye and lid modifications, face tightening, facial bone remodeling for facial feminization, breast/chest construction and reductions, and laser hair removal.” People who are outside of the loop of transgender culture do not understand how much this can mean to a person. An article from 9News tells the story of 33-year-old Blair Sagan and how she felt after paying $10,000 out of pocket for get top surgery. This is a procedure to “remove breast tissue and reshape the chest.” Blair said,
“I was in a very deep depression … and the feeling after, I want every trans person to have. You know, gender euphoria.
Blair is one out of the millions of trans people that would have been greatly effected by this bill, but instead had to pay for her surgery without the help of a health care provider. Now, anyone in Colorado who wants to feel more at home in their own skin will not have to go through the trouble of having their gender affirming surgery be looked at as a want rather than a need.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as accepting as Colorado. In an article by Ella Schneiberg for HRC, she explains how about 20 sates, as of May 2021, are attempting to get bills passed that are anti-transgender health care. It is very heart breaking to hear that some people still do not understand the need to give the LGBTQ+ community equal access to health care. Arkansas even has a bill that permits the discrimination of transgender persons and refusal to cover gender-affirming care.
We can only hope that there will be a brighter future. Here is a link to the Go Fund Me’s of transgender persons who need help funding their gender-affirming surgeries if you would like to make a difference too!