Now with policy, policy efforts have shifted with the new White House administration with health care reform. When working with framers of the Affordable Care Act and advancing the passage, trans advocates had the highest priorities in mind that would benefit transgender and LGB people. Though there aren’t many specifically inclusions, many things like trans healthcare were not excluded and it’s up to the states and advocates to make up the difference in its application, but there have been some huge benefits…
Immediate wins for trans people
Pre-existing conditions will ending, so now we won’t get denied coverage as often
In 2014, more individuals will qualify for Medicaid
In 2014, the general public can access independent healthcare (for purchase)
Finally, I would like to point out that this workshop was the most highly attended that I’ve been to, which is just as packed as a similar workshop at Creating Change 2011 on trans policy/research. In my humble opinion, the interest from these workshops but also from our general community shows that the trans community is very concerned about policy, health and research regarding us. Basically, what I’m saying is that if your programs or your work is thinking about including or focusing on this work, you should! Your trans communities will listen, they’ll benefit and with that you should see success!
Reporting on the Philly Trans-Health Conference from workshop Finding Reliable Health Information Online by the AIDS Project/Philadelphia Fight
Philadelphia Fight, the parent organization of the AIDS Library, was helping people get access to HIV meds since 1990. They have been using technology to make LGBT and AIDS information accessible, specifically empowering individuals to find reliable information on their own. Also funded by Freedom Rights the Critical Path Project is providing public computers across the city of Philadelphia and offering access to computer classes.
This training went over how to decide whether a website offers valid advice on transgender health, which is an extremely skill! There is so little information on trans health. Even in the ’90s when I was first researching this stuff, there was little information and it was mostly entirely unreliable. Without much research, data, healthcare inclusion, etc there are still issues even now, but there are SOME good resources and ways to ID those.
The workshop challenges us to think very critically about online information: who it comes, why it was published, when was it posted, how clear is the information, what is the format, what is the purpose (to provide information or sell products? Some ways to critically examine these sources are to check sources and find if it is a recognized organization with legitimate links.
Websites not updated recently and/or no reliable contact information.
Online forums are not necessarily reliable or objective, and often health providers are not commenting on these. However if you look at the experiences on their own, that may be helpful, but just not for objective advice. These may be great for support and offer information not offered elsewhere (Ex. Experience Project, FTM surgery info).
Some health information may not be fully and objectively presented
Again, specific factsheets will be shared later on! In the meantime information can be found here: http://aidslibrary.org/
Policies at Universities which affect trans people
Nondiscrimination policies (only 293 colleges cover gender identity and expression in their policies) – What was the first school? The University of Iowa, the state we did Technical Assistance for last month!
Access to sex-segregated spaces (trans students are explicitly or informally rejected from accessing bathrooms and lockerrooms)
Names and gender markers with University records (most colleges don’t allow preferred/chosen names on rosters, student IDs)
Housing (many trans people are not allowed to room with people of their identified gender so a trans women couldn’t live with other women)
Access to health services – this is BIG because so many trans people must access health services more than their peers. Very few colleges offer any sort of services within the health center and have trans exclusions in their health plans, but some have full trans coverage (University of California schools, NYU, UPenn, American and a few others).
Inclusion of transgender studies, topics and text in academia
Access to Greek life and athletics
What you could do:
Familiarize yourself with other policies at other schools
Be your own advocate (this is stressful, but sometimes you have to be the one to force change)
Most advocates for trans-inclusive are in school for years, so it’s important to “pass the torch” by leading underclass students
Identify staff to help out, especially LGBT or Gender centers, LGBT staff advisors or allies to support in these struggles for inclusion. Having more permanent staff, experienced with college bureaucracy.
Collaborate with other marginalized groups, with similar goals (communities of colors, people with disabilities, etc)
Presenting on Philadelphia Trans Health Conference
After some brief introductions and a great welcoming message from Chief Bob of the Lenàpe Nation around indigenous solidarity and history of the land, the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference is getting started!
The opening plenary is highlighting two very inspiring and seasoned community activists, Earline Budd and Dr. Jamison Green. Dr. Green shared his story of his transition, around becoming aware of being in the wrong body at a young age and growing up and learning about a lot of stigma around Trans-identified folks and how the stigma was when he was growing up. Something that really stuck out about his talk was how he believes that our fight is for human rights. Our personal stories are important, but we have to look at how our communities fit into the larger culture.
Earline Budd, a very fierce trans woman from Washington D.C. shared her life story of being incarcerated as a youth because her parents said she was “out of control” because she was acting like a woman. Through that incarceration though, she learned some very important life lessons to avoid jail. She also contracted HIV as a sex worker and had a very strong message of “Life is what you make it, living with HIV”.
Having a moment to talk together they spoke about the need for solidarity between all the trans communities and bring that visibility with you to your trainings, discussions, etc.
(this is the cover of the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference Program)
Program Associate, Reporting from the Philly Trans-Health Conference
I’m so pleased to be reporting from the Philly Trans-Health Conference. Though I’ve wanted to attend this conference for years, this is the first year I’ve been able to make it. Beyond attending, I’m excited to have a platform with the Network to share information from this conference and its workshops.
Every year I haven’t been able to attend because of school or other commitments and I nearly wouldn’t have made it if I left about 20 minutes later as when driving down I was about one exit away from a tornado that struck down on the highway and littered hail all over our car! For a moment I thought Harold Camping may have been wrong with his Judgement Day date, but it turns out we were fine. That’s another story, but it’s an even greater reason to be happy to be here!
I’m also excited to not be here alone. This is a record-breaking year for participants with 1,800 expected attendees which includes trans people, providers/advocates of trans people and allies. I’m also not alone as I have a fabulous and fierce Lexi Adsit who is our blogging scholar for this conference. She’s a super cool youth from the west coast advocating for a huge number of issues including trans people, people of color and health disparities, specifically tobacco too. You’ll be hearing from her this week as well. Check out her intro post about one entry back for more about her background! Between us I hope you all can get a great perspective on the conference whether or not you are here.
Presenting on the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference
Hello hello hello! Lexi Adsit here from the San Francisco International Airport, getting ready to board my flight! So all of you know me, I’ll be blogging for the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference and doing it quite a lot for all of you! This is the 10th year anniversary of the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference so it’s a rather momentous occasion and from just checking my facebook lots of amazing folks are going to be there!
To fill you in on a little more about myself, I am a 3rd year student at San Francisco State University majoring in Raza Studies with a minor in Counseling. I have been involved with many non-profits from Local Bay Area organizations Health Initiatives For Youth (HIFY) to larger National organizations like National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC) and the Network for LGBT Health Equity! I identify as a queer, transwomyn, pansexual and I am also a transracial adoptee.
Note: Was going to post this last night, but had to get to bed early! So in just 30 minutes I will be blogging from the opening plenary session! Happy reading and don’t forget to subscribe or check the blog often this week!