Expanding curbs on elective and cosmetic surgery is preventing people who say they are transgender from getting “lifesaving” operations, according to an article in Vice magazine.
The reporter who wrote the article, titled ,“As Hospitals Prepare for COVID-19, Life-Saving Trans Surgeries Are Delayed,” interviewed a handful of people who face delays getting breasts removed or genitalia altered.
Meanwhile, according to Johns Hopkins, real-time data about the coronavirus from around the globe show that, as of Friday, 258,052 people have the virus and 11,268 have died, including 216 in the United States.
And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 0.6 percent of people in the United States identified as transgender in 2016.
But Vice portrayed the plight of transgenders as dangerous during this emergency health crisis where in two states so far — California and New York — people have been ordered to stay home.
Vice’s report claims that “gender-affirming surgery” is necessary:
For transgender and gender non-conforming people, gender-affirming surgeries are life-altering procedures, which, for many, can greatly reduce gender dysphoria and improve their quality of life. But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, trans communities on Reddit and Twitter are being flooded with reports of postponed and canceled surgeries in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Thailand, and elsewhere, leading to enormous stress and disappointment on top of a global health crisis.
This underscores a common experience amongst trans people seeking medical care or surgery: Research has suggested that gender-affirming surgery, in particular, has a notable and long-term impact on mental health, but far too often, trans people already wait far longer than is safe or healthy for this care. Further delays can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Violet Jones, a transgender person who lives in New York City is still hoping to get a procedure done in May.
For now, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order delaying none-emergency surgery for “the next few weeks.”
“This is the third time it’s been postponed,” she, described as “he” in Vice’s report, said. “It’s getting more and more heartbreaking to keep getting so close to something that will make me feel better and feel like I’m in the right body for once,” she said.
Vice said even in relatively normal circumstances transgender people face challenges to achieve their life-altering surgeries, including insurance issues, despite the fact that the American Medical Association in recent years shifted its policies to say these surgeries are “medically necessary” to treat gender dysphoria.
Joshua Safer, executive director at Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, told VICE that staff are reaching out to patients. He said:
Our team is on duty for patients with concerns that cannot be postponed including in-person post-operative care for our surgical patients, especially those who have had recent surgeries. We are also instituting some telehealth capacity to help some patients for whom that makes sense.
“As soon as it is safe to do so, all postponed surgeries and clinic appointments will be rescheduled with the highest priority,” Safer said.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter