In honor of Detrans Awareness Day, insurance and Medicaid plans that cover transition related drugs and surgeries must cover detransition too
What do you do when your child is now an adult and is free to make his own decisions, even when you know those decisions will cause them more harm than good? As a parent, you will always worry about the consequences of those decisions, but you will also provide a safe place to come home. You remember when you were young and knew your parents could never understand. Later, you figured out they might know a little something and your kid will understand that too someday—but someday is a long way away.
At the same time, you are a human, and intellectually seeing the big picture doesn’t change the very real mental, physical, and spiritual impacts on your life today. As your child navigates his chosen world, you must find a way to navigate your new world too. So, you reach out to connect with others who are going through something similar. You find you are not alone, there are thousands of other parents near and far and these other folks get it, get you. This is what it is like when your young adult child tells you that he (in my case, my son) is transgender, out of the blue, and has decided to medically transition by taking cross-sex hormones and possibly undergoing radical surgeries. But connecting is not always enough, sometimes you must do something, something more.
So you try to understand. You meet other young adults online and in real life who went through the same changes and made the same decisions as your kid. They are now a bit older, more mature, and have seen the promises of their chosen world are not as they seemed. There is regret, pain, physical and mental suffering. You hear their stories, and you believe them. They have been failed by those who should have helped and protected them. And again, you must do something, something more.
With your posse of parents and professionals, you make a plan and implement it. In my case, the something more was legislation. In most states, legislation pushing back against the medicalization of gender ideology is focused on minors. But we know - especially those of us with adult children - that the issue does not stop at 18—in fact, it accelerates at 18 due to the omnipresence of informed consent clinics like Planned Parenthood.
These clinics are not really informing their patients about the short and long-term known and unknown consequences of the “treatments” they prescribe so flippantly. They do not assess the patient’s history or readiness for such invasive treatments. Insurance and Medicaid plans cover these treatments without regard to the quality of evidence underpinning the medical necessity of these treatments.
Luckily, there are legislators who see what is happening, and the harm that is being done. Representative Jeff Leach of Texas, for example, has filed HB3502 which will hold insurance companies that have covered transition related drugs and surgeries responsible for covering the cost of the short and long-term consequences of those treatments, baseline testing and procedures to reconstruct or reverse the results of those treatments.
Parents like me, with help from professionals and organizations like Genspect are working behind the scenes to harness our worry and fear toward driving positive change, in the legislative arena and other areas of public life. And we will not stop, not until our society changes course on this life-altering social and ideological issue. Young adults who were convinced the only treatment for their distress was life-long medicalization deserve nothing less.
We are doing something. Will you?