Amidst the coronavirus global health crisis, when hospitals are facing the possibility of becoming overwhelmed with the growing pandemic, transgender individuals are raising their own concerns. Last week, Vice published a report in which several of these individuals discussed their angst over the prospect of their gender reassignment surgeries being postponed.
According to the Vice report:
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 29-year-old trans woman (I.e. biological male) in New York, cited concerns over losing out on income should his surgery this May, be rescheduled. “A change to the date would pretty radically alter my plans and overall security around the procedure. The surgery was scheduled to allow recovery during [my school’s] summer months without a gap in pay,” he said.
Riley Cooper, a 23-year-old trans man (I.e. biological female) in St. Louis, had her “top surgery” postponed, with no reschedule date. “This is the third time it’s been postponed. 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. “Every time I feel like I’ve gotten close, something has to come along to take it away.”
While Vice acknowledges that the “cancellations and postponements are taking place as medical systems across the U.S. are facing a shortage of supplies and beds,” they nonetheless assert that these procedures should be considered “essential.”
This story heartbreakingly illustrates the extent to which gender dysphoria afflicts the mind of those who suffer from it.
Even during these uncertain times, when we are all experiencing “enormous stress and disappointment”, remember to pray for those who are suffering from this consuming mental illness. The only thing that will be truly life-saving for transgender individuals is the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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