Drowning in the swamp

So I’ve been contemplating what to post here for about the last week as the dread keeps settling in as news articles clamor on top of one another on my feed.
It’s hard to put into words your anger and distress sometimes. I’ll try and not go on a full tirade as I’m sure a lot of you might feel the same way but I digress. This isn’t going to be easy for me.

As each day passes since the 1st of this year, I feel like I’m already drowning in this country. It’s not even the 20th yet and already I’m sick with anxiety, worry and thoughts of how to escape. Half baked plans of desperation, trying to find holes in the system so we can move before we’re completely stripped of our rights we’ve worked so hard to get.

The first strike: Health insurance in the state I’m in. We obviously had to sign up with the ACA again as none of our employers offer insurance. The issue with that is, our selection was cut in half and rates doubled. I couldn’t continue through United healthcare and had to find one that we could afford that had an obtainable deductible for us. We got stuck with Cigna for literally over double what we paid last year. Cigna doesn’t offer coverage for trans individuals. Plain and simple.
The exert from their 2017 exclusions: “Procedures, surgery or treatments to change characteristics of the body to those of the opposite sex including medical or psychological counseling and hormonal therapy in preparation for, or subsequent to, any such surgery. This also includes any medical, surgical or psychiatric treatment or study related to sex change.

I’m already fucked as far as my transition goes it seems. Feeling hopeless right off the bat this year, this wasn’t going to help my year off with a good note.
But then let’s add the syrup to the shit ice cream sundae and watch a Texas Federal judge block transperson’s rights the day before they’d fully take effect for the ACA!
Link: The BUZZ story

So that’s now 2 hits this first week. Oh and than you have Paul Ryan and the screwed assholes in congress who vow to repeal the whole damn ACA. Bam, 3 strikes we’re out.

What do you even do with this? I mean.. what can we do?

I sat and pondered this pretty much the last couple days. It’s only the 9th. 9 fucking days and I’ve watched my rights stripped and my health coverage go under fire.

Well, fuck it. I’m fighting. I’m not going down without a battle.
I happen to scroll past the Trans rights group on FB posting an article and I spoke up and commented. I’ve since then been in touch with a lady from PROMO and in the talks of trying to sort out the blatant discrimination in my healthcare.
I’ll be contacting Lambda Legal as well to see where and how far I can go.
Granted, I don’t have the funds at all to hire a lawyer. I’m living on a strict budget. So I suppose we’ll see. But if they find my case noteworthy enough to make waves, I’m gunning all the way. Court dates and all. I’m tired of sitting at home, watching as everything is set on fire around me, expecting others to make my and other’s ways in the world.

How can our legislation deny the AMA(American Medical Association), APA(American Psychological Association) and countless other accredited organizations? I know.. it’s a rhetorical question. These same people deny 98% of scientists on climate change. *Que eye roll x 1000*

As you can tell, I’ve hit my fuck this shit, mark and I’m fed up. Let’s cross fingers and hope I have some good news for once come soon.

I’ m covered!

So my paranoia ended up being a good thing!

I got a bit antsy at not knowing whether or not my insurance was going to cover my top surgery. The lady I spoke to yesterday wouldn’t give me a definitive answer and that really bugged me.
So I went looking and asking around for surgery codes today.
Ran across Dr Garramone’s site where they actually listed the codes (what they meant and were for etc) and jotted them down and called my insurance.
I asked for a case manager but was told none was available but the lady said she’d check the codes for me.
After being on hold multiple times, clarifying things and reminding them that they can’t deny me on the basis of being transgender, she came back saying that the surgery and fees are all covered for me!

I’m now tasked with getting 3 letters from my pcp, therapist and surgeon on my documentation of transition, a referral from my pcp to the surgeon and a referral from the surgeon and that’s it.
That’s freaking it. I’m.. so fucking ecstatic. I’m over the moon with delight that over 2 years later, pain, embarrassment, aches and dysphoria, I finally get to have this done and I don’t have to pay a cent.

Just.. going to thank Obama (in the sincerest way, along with the department of justice) because literally without them, I’d still be fucked.

So I have my consultation with the surgeon is on the 19th and the office lady said if everything goes through the insurance smoothly and without issue, I could be scheduled for surgery as early as the 2nd week of October this year.

I’m going to go have a mini celebration of screeching internally for the next hour.

Get angry and doing something about it.

This is what I try and live by most of the time when injustice or discrimination happen to me now a days. I’m tired of laying back and just taking the beating. So I did something about it.

My last journal was about the fact I had called a surgeon in my area to inquire about top surgery, only to find out they don’t offer to put in claims for insurance on trans top surgery. I was livid and hurt that day. I stewed for a couple hours, turning what had happened in my head over and over and finally said, enough is enough.

I called first the Department of Justice. Did the whole ring around the transfer line until I had to leave a message and that pretty much ended up in a dead end.
So I decided the best route would be to call the hospital’s administration office. I did just that and spoke with a really nice lady who was pretty concerned that I was told these things and picked up a claim for me.
The next day I get a call and it’s all been sorted out.

Turns out that they filed so many claims through insurance that kept getting denied that they quit offering to do it. They FAILED to explain that to me which I hope in the future they start to. Also, I ended up educating the office staff about the new ruling that took effect July 18th. Which I hope will be passed along more. It sadly isn’t that big of a thing when it should be!

So thankfully my irony turned into a positive outcome. I’m expecting to schedule my consultation tomorrow and get seen in the next week or so and hopefully get surgery approved and scheduled for next month. Crossing fingers!

Irony at it’s best, or worst.

Want to hear something fucked up? DOJ (Department of Justice) made new declarations this year that protect transgender people when it comes to coverage and insurance. This took into effect July 18th.
My insurance has to cover my transition related surgeries now and can NOT deny me on the basis that I’m transgender.
I of course have to find a surgeon in my area that’s in my network for this to go through. I have the option to go to an out of network but that’s going to cost me money I don’t have.
I call this surgeon that works under Truman medical here in the KC Metro area. Her top results looked great and I was really leaning on her as my surgeon now.
My shoulder has been hurting a lot lately due to the fact I wear my binder 14-16 hours a day cause fuck my chest.
So I call her office to set up a consultation appointment. The lady says it’ll be $50 up front to make that appointment and I say in my head, “Oh.. well can’t pay for that now but in a few weeks maybe,” and then she goes on to say the dr doesn’t file trans surgeries with insurance. She didn’t say.. she didn’t accept insurance for any other surgery she did.. just trans ones.

What.. the.. fuck?

Like, I’m such a basket of emotions right now. It’s so ironic to me that I wait.. over 2 years to see if I can get insurance that covers trans surgeries because my family and I have been scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck for the last 5+ years so saving on a strict budget is freaking impossible.. and I FINALLY get insurance and they agree to cover it because of the new ruling.. and the one fucking Dr I found in my area that I like.. doesn’t fucking take insurance for TRANS?!

Can you tell I’m just utterly pissed off and dumbfounded?
I’m also seriously crushed right now. It hit me pretty hard when I heard that and then had a fellow transman tell me, “Well insurance should reimburse you!”
Oh, I’m sorry. Did you just assume that I had $7,500+ laying around to get surgery? Did you just.. assume that because you could, everyone can? Cause last I checked, I’ve been living on a strict budget so much so that we barely make food appear before we get paid again. Illness, car issues, my kids.. among just some of the few things that keep fucking up our chance to even save $50 for that consultation let alone seven fucking grand.

So there’s the irony. Get insurance to pay for my top surgery. Get told Dr doesn’t take my insurance because I’m trans.
Wonderful.

If my fucking transmission hadn’t gone out 3 weeks ago and my tax return wasn’t needed for a new car.. AGAIN.. I’d gladly just fucking pay for my surgery. But it looks like.. another year has to go by. Just fml.

Let’s talk about bathrooms.

I figured it was time to update the blog look again. Something cleaner, less notebookish. I have to make a new banner later because my face plastered that large up at top kind of makes me feel weird. But other than that, I’m digging it.

I’m going to kind of go on a small tangent about bathrooms and all those laws trying to pop up recently. If you haven’t kept up with the news recently, North Carolina is receiving backlash lately because their governor is a transphobic man who decided that trans persons weren’t really people and thus must go to the bathroom that corresponds with their both sex at birth. I’ll catch you up to date: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/30/nc-transgender-bathroom-ban-is-a-national-embarrassment-says-ag-as-pilloried-law-becomes-key-election-issue/

North Carolina of course isn’t the only one pushing bills around willy nilly and trying to get them passed. 28 states have introduced bills similar to NC this year! My state included! Kansas wants to reward those who can even catch transpersons using the “wrong” bathroom! How ludicrous is this? I’d say “Trump crazy” levels.
Here is a great article covering the bills: http://www.hrc.org/blog/anti-lgbt-bills-introduced-in-28-states

I’m not one for going willy nilly on politics but I’ll be damned if I let them run rampant against so many of my brothers and sisters and even my self. My own coward of a state is following the trend and it’s sickening. It pains me to see these bills, some passing, popping up everywhere. A lot of these bills are being passed mainly against transwomen because of this religious and blind fear of the unknown. Attempting to ban us from the public, like it’s going to make it better for everyone. They tried it with the gay/lesbian movement and now it’s popular to target the trans.
The issue here is trans isn’t as supported as the gay/lesbian movement. We don’t have nearly the large upswing as it has garnered over the years. Even some of our LG sides have fallen short in helping. We need all the help we can get. We really do.

I want to link one last site that is an action site, explaining per state, what bills are in and how to take action. http://www.transequality.org/action-center

I’m wanting to go to college this year. I don’t want to be driven away from my education because I’m not allowed to use the restroom I identify with. I don’t want others in that same position either. My children need a better future to live in. This lunacy has got to end. If you could take a moment, share, speak up or contact your local state and voice your opinion, it’d mean the absolute world to all of us. And when it comes time to vote? Vote to get these narrow minded idiots out of their seats. Not just on the presidential level, but your state level, city level and so forth. You have the right to vote and change the future for so many. I urge you to do so.

To the girl I still love.

It’s been 2 years since I started this journey. 2 years of becoming the person I was meant to be. The one I held in for so long, suffering in silence. The person I kept a secret, denied and made invisible. In the 2 years since letting this person go free, I have grown, become educated more so and finally am able to walk as upright as I can. I have found a voice with in myself that I didn’t think I had. I’ve found a new career to push towards and I’ve met amazing people along the way.
The girl I was born as is still there, nestled against my heart. She will never go away and I’m ok with that. She will forever be apart of myself even if my appearance says otherwise. I learned a lot from her in my life and she shaped me to who I am today. I hold no grudge for her holding me back for so long. She must of known that it was time for her to let go and move on.
I am and always was meant to be a man. My brain was born with that part saying so. Science hasn’t figured out why but I am ok not knowing.
I am grateful that in my life I get to walk and live as the man I was meant to be. My puzzle piece has been found.
I will keep growing, learning and moving forward. In another two years I will be further than I was today. I will not be stuck in the same place like I had been for so many years before.
To the past and younger me, it’s ok that we waited. It’s ok that you held me in for as long as you did. You had good reason to protect this part of us. I will be strong now for us both and will keep you on our journey for the rest of our days.

Thank you to every single person who believed in me even when you didn’t understand. No one is to blame for anything. You never lost that daughter, she’s still here, she just realized that /she/ was no longer able to go on as the way she was. I am not a monster, I am not a freak. I am a human being. I am a man and I will die that way. Be it that my appearance changed, the person inside is still the same, albeit the wiser now.
I’ll still love you, listen to you and care for you the same as before and I am eternally grateful to those who knew this and support me daily. Loosing a gender, while jarring as it can be, doesn’t have to be a funeral.
I hope one day people will see it as a celebration. Instead of grieving the loss, celebrate the new beginning. Rejoice that this person finally found their puzzle piece and hope for better days of happiness for them.

Just a pretty face and nothing more.

Can we for a moment talk about that part of the internet where people have been tagging #thisiswhattranslookslike everywhere? It’s a visibility campaign to show others that we are just every day people just like everyone else. It’s a wonderful thing to do and I fully support and back it.
But when does it turn from a good thing to a hurtful and possibly dangerous thing?
When ‘famous’ transpersons decide that the selfie train shouldn’t stop. That instead of taking part of their visibility and following to do something good with it, they decide that they’ll turn a buck and potentially harm others instead because their ‘selfie’ was too important to pass up.

I am livid. Infuriated, that this is what it’s boiling down to. That this is somehow accepted vs actual help for the community. When do we draw the line?

Confused? I’ll show you. Example A: Screenshot 2016-02-05 22.15.57

This is what has me set off. Here we see ‘famous’ Aydian Dowling, lack of smile, sad big doe eyes.. and the caption mentions he was taken a back by a trans murder that he was e-mailed about. This of course warranted for him to /show you/ how upset he clearly is and then promptly followed by 4 emoji heart icons and than a bunch of spewed hash tagged words.
I mean come on! Look at how upset he is everyone! That’s the face of a man who clearly had to pull out his camera and just /shoowww you/ how awful he feels. That warrants something right? I mean, clearly this is somehow helping the community. All the swooning comments of how handsome he is, obviously got the message across.

Can you feel my sarcasm from across the internet? Good. So I of course, obviously sighting something missing, decided to chime in. I’m apart of the community, I surely have a voice I can use. Let’s go for it. Example B:
Screenshot 2016-02-05 22.12.16.png

Here you see the wild Hex in his habitat. Putting in a word of advice or even just a suggestion. One that I wasn’t seething hate from, not a curse word in sight. In fact I give my self a small pat on the back for not blowing up. (thanks me!)
And then que his fans. Ones who clearly missed the point I was trying to make, just like Aydian did. Surprise surprise!

Yeah, sure.. that sad selfie is surely going to save someone… not.

When did people think it was ok to stick their necks out for their communities and than fall completely off the bandwagon, off the road, out of the ditch and into a river? When did it become acceptable to be allowed to a mass a shit ton of followers, whom you could have a positive sway over and instead whore yourself out for the likes? And people think Caitlyn is bad for the community. Let’s take a nice hard long look at this guy shall we?

Dear Aydian here runs a clothing company that claims they ‘help’ the trans community. They give free binders to those in need and help raise funds for the lucky few who win their lotto to get surgery. That sounds amazing right? Until you dig a little deeper.
That free binder program? Free sounds so great, especially to the dirt poor trans person who can’t even keep a job because they keep getting fired for BEING TRANS! Well think again poor trans person! Aydian wants you to buy one of this T shirts first! You’ve gotta spend that money to get that free binder! Gotta look swag in his apparel. Oh don’t have money for that $20 T-shirt? Go beg somewhere else!

So you say to yourself, ok I’ll just enter his once a year drawing to get top surgery! I won’t even need a binder than if I just get the funds right? WRONG! Oh boy I even looked into this one because, as previously mentioned in another blog post, I can’t afford top surgery. Insurance doesn’t cover it, my state hasn’t made it legal and I have 2 kids to take care of on the already limited income we do have. So you bet your bottom I went looking to apply to be in his top surgery drawing. It went great until I read the list of requirements to apply. To apply, applicants must have saved up past a certain goal of money! On top of that, the funds he gives are meant only to get you to the rest of your end goal and you have only so long to get that top surgery or else he wants that money back!
Welp, count my ass out and god only knows how many other transmen in my position.

So, let’s recap! If you’re poor(which makes up 15% of trans, (vs 4% of the general population of the US) or even struggling to make ends meet, been fired recently from a job because you’re trans etc, than don’t turn to Aydian Dowling. He’s not going to help you.
If you’re in a dire situation, you ran across his page just recently and needed some help, but low and behold didn’t find any but a bunch of selfies and self positive messages, well.. you’re screwed as far as he’s concerned.
If you really needed that number for the trans suicide hotline but couldn’t remember it because Aydian decided his lean muscle was more important, you’re not alone.
And oh if your parents are kicking you out and you needed to remember that shelter number for trans youth? Welp.. out of luck again. Your hunky Aydian didn’t decide you were important enough because his gym selfie was.

Do you see the issue here??! When do we get to stand up and say, “Hey, this isn’t what the community needs!” It’s great you’re visible. So much so you were on TV. Congradulations Aydian. Honestly, I do mean that part. You’ve come leaps and bounds as far as the trans community goes for visibility. Other than that? You haven’t done shit with it. You haven’t grassrooted correctly. Instead of helping the lesser of us wallowing on the bottom, just trying to make ends meet, you decided you’d be the pretty face instead.
You’ve lost my support and two years of looking up to you. God only knows how many lives have been lost instead because someone looked up to you and didn’t get the help they really needed. I know I couldn’t live with that guilt.