What the stay at home order is doing to trans people

By: Jasper Scelsi, Columnist

The other week I wrote about what it’s like to be stuck with family and be LGBTQ, but the coronavirus is affecting queer people in more ways than that. Many people are waiting for transition-related surgeries and services that are not available due to the shutdowns.

I’ve wanted top surgery for as long as I can remember. Top surgery removes tissue from the chest to remove breasts and make the chest appear more masculine. To get my insurance to cover this, I need two letters – one from a therapist and one from a psych doctor with a doctorate. 

Both of these letters need to say I’m mentally healthy enough to get the surgery. That in and of itself is difficult and a discriminatory practice meant to halt life-changing procedures, and I may discuss how wrong and unfair that is in a later article. But the point is, I’ve been waiting for the doctor to become available and schedule an appointment with me, but I haven’t been able to see her. The wait drags on and it’s getting stressful. 

Many others are in this predicament. I know several trans men whose surgery appointments were rescheduled due to this. Imagine living your life with a body part you don’t want, being excited to finally be able to live in a body you’re more comfortable in… you go through the legal processes and set a surgery date… only to have that taken away from you. 

All the excitement, the anxiety, the longing, postponed for who knows how long. I’m still in limbo so I’m not in the same boat, I can’t imagine counting down the days before the procedure only to be told I’ll have to wait and go back into limbo.

I’m also working on a legal name change. I am getting my name changed with Freestate Justice, who assigned an attorney to help me through the process. I’m in the process of trying to get the name-changing fees waived, but the courts are closed through the month of May.

I’ve spent so much time mulling over a name, trying out names, writing and signing my new name. I’ve really been looking forward to be able to mail things to my house with my proper name on it without worrying about it being trapped at the post office because the name on my ID doesn’t match the name on the package (this almost happened once, though I managed to keep it because my school ID does say Jasper on it. But I’m afraid next time I might get a less tolerant postal worker). 

I want to be able to change the name on my old Facebook, which I’ve only kept the same because Facebook has a “real name” policy and could shut down my account if they find out I’m using a “fake name.” And it startles me every time I post a picture of myself and it auto-tags my old name with facial recognition. 

I want my prescriptions to have my name on them, it feels so weird to pick up testosterone with that name on it. I want to stop answering phone calls asking “is this (old name)?” and having to say yes. But the courts are closed, I can’t set a date for a hearing, and I’m stuck.

I think a lot of people are feeling stuck due to this pandemic. Stuck in their homes. Stuck with the people they live with. Stuck with extra chores due to spending more time at home. But some are stuck in other ways. I feel stuck in this body. Stuck with this name. And I hope we all go back to health and safety soon, because I want out.

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