Father Tony

Trans People Deserve Better

Filed By Father Tony | July 10, 2009 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: transgender discrimination

Editor's Note: Today's Guest Contributor is the Reverend Donna Tara Lee, a Gainesville Florida out and proud M2F transgender activist.

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A Miami report tells us of the arrest of a Donnie Hendrix. Ms. Hendrix is a male-to-female transgender woman who was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. She was injecting other would-be male-to-female transgenders with silicone for anywhere from $400.00-$600.00 per injection. Ms. Hendrix has a good job, a home and was described as a " real loner ".

Why would she risk what she has legally by doing something illegal and very dangerous ( a Miramar secratery died in 2001 following one of these so-called back alley injections )? She now faces a prison term and a stiff fine if convicted for her actions.I believe she probably did what she is accused of, and this is only my opinion, to help other transgenders going through the male-to-female transition. My reasoning follows, and some of it is based on my own personal experience as a male-to-female transgender woman.

In our society, persons who are transgendered are subject to a great deal of harassment, misunderstanding and a lack of medical care/insurance. Many trans persons are discriminated against in employment and usually end up with jobs that have no health insurance. For them, a silicone injection of $400.00 - $600.00 is a bargain. There are also many who buy their hormones on-line because they can't afford doctors or their prescriptions. The on-line black market is a booming business. The risk here is of self medicating and also not having the necessary after-tests once on hormones to make sure there is no liver or kidney damage. Without medical coverage, the care of a therapist is also neglected which leads to many mental health problems, some ending in suicide.

In my case, I had health insurance which many consider to be excellent. However my insurance would not pay for cosmetic surgery and my insurance considers gender re-assignment surgery (GRS) as cosmetic. No matter that a diagnosis of Gender Disphoria means no cure, only treatment and that treatment includes sometimes GRS.

Is there an answer to this? Yes there is. Stop treating trans persons as freaks, perverts, crazy etc.. Recognize we have a realistic deadly disease which if not treated leads to depression, other mental health problems, self mutilation, back alley treatments and sometimes suicide. My surgery cost me $5150.00 8 and 1/2 yrs. ago. If I didn't have the money, the despair I felt at being trapped in the wrong body would have led to suicide. We all need health insurance, and when this nation gets enlightened enough to cover all its citizens, we have to make sure diseases like gender disphoria is covered. Then we shall not have anymore back alley silicone injections or other treatments.

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