Three thoughts ponderedTrans Progressive Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Commentary: Trans Progressive
In past years for this column, I’ve written about the first Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), and how the day came into being. I’ve also written about how Marti Abernathey maintains the current, official, list of the names of the dead.
I came out in February of 2003. For several years I participated in organizing the memorial service for the TDoR.
In 2009, the TDoR became so very personal for me. I was blogging for the national blog Pam’s House Blend at the time, and went to Greeley Colorado to cover the trial of the later convicted killer of transgender murder victim Angie Zapata.
From that trial forward, it became difficult to the point where I just can’t be involved with being on the planning committees anymore for TDoRs. Each name read aloud hits hard as a life ended too early from violence due to antitransgender hate. And, the name is read only one year; we have so many new names to read the next year.
Back in 2011, my surgical status became a point of discussion among bloggers and blog commenters. I’d had gender affirmation surgery, but it wasn’t a vaginoplasty. If I wasn’t so much a public figure back then, there wouldn’t have been such a public discussion point among transsexual people who found my level of surgery inadequate.
For years, the subject of my genitalia became a discussion point in the online comment sections of this column, even when my columns had nothing to do with my surgical status.
About three months ago, I put in paperwork with the Veterans Administration’s (VA’s) Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) to have a vaginoplasty. It was in anticipation of the regulations changing with the VA/VHA toward the VA paying for all gender affirmation surgeries. The VA announced anticipated regulatory changes Sept.16.
However, the VA announced Nov. 14 that it was dropping plans for gender affirmation surgeries for transgender veterans, allegedly not because of criticism, but instead they aren’t financially feasible due to budgetary constraints.
This comes off as ridiculous on the face. As the Palm Center notes in a press release that came out Nov. 17, “The Palm Center released a study showing that the cost of providing transition-related health care would be $20.6 million, approximately one one-hundredth of one percent of the VA’s $183.2 billion budget. The Palm Center provided the study to VA administrators in December 2014 to help inform their decision as to whether or not to offer transition surgery, but did not publicly release the study until today.”
“The $20.6 million estimate includes the cost of providing hormones and counseling,” the press release continued, “which the VA already offers to transgender veterans.
“Thus, the annual cost of adding surgery to the range of medically-necessary care would be even less.”
I’m debating what to do after I get my rejection letter. On one level, I feel much of the fight has been knocked out of me these past years. But without struggling, it’s not only me who doesn’t win, but my community.
In my more mundane life, I have a recipe for cranberry chutney that I usually make each Thanksgiving. I’m usually one of those “orphan” people on that holiday, so I get invited to many “Friendsgiving” celebrations of the day.
Most folk have given up on cranberry sauce long ago. I usually make my cranberry chutney as an alternative dish so that cranberry isn’t left out, but is included in a new way.
Shallots; think of them as a kind of very sweet onion, are an important ingredient in my chutney. This year, the Commissary at the Navy Base on 32nd Street was out by the time I got there, and so was the second market I went to. I’m absolutely amazed it took me three stores to find shallots.
With good fortune, spending time with found family on Thanksgiving, bringing something I love to cook with my own hands and love will bring joy. For many reasons, I can use a bit of joy this holiday season.
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