Weight Discrimination In Transgender Healthcare

This week on The Slut Show Ellen Moore is joined by comedian, intersectional feminist, activist & talkshow host Bappie (he/him). They discuss the impact systemic racism has on the everyday life of people of color, fatphobia and weight discrimination. This week’s Slutty Science demonstrates the directly correlated consequences of that exact weight discrimination in transgender healthcare.

Please note: this article contains information about racism, transphobia, BMI, mental health issues & suicide, which may be triggering for some readers.

Bappie is a transman. That means he was assigned female at birth, but lives his life as a man, because that’s the gender he identifies with. When looking into different possible surgeries that confirm his gender identity, a mastectomy is top on the list.

A mastectomy is the surgical procedure - performed mostly on transmasculine and non-binary folks - of removing one’s boobs. This is not covered by insurance, unless you have gotten diagnosed with gender dysphoria. In order to be able to get your boobs removed, however, the rules in the Netherlands state that you must have a BMI which is 35 or less.

If you were to want to get your surgery abroad, you can do so and this will be covered by insurance, however, that is not a loophole out of the BMI rule. If you want to get your surgery covered by insurance, you must adhere to the rules in regards to weight in relation to height.

These rules are there for so called “health concerns,” but when we take a closer look at the body mass index - like we did in the slutty science of episode 6 of season 4 - we can conclude that the BMI is kindergarten mathematics and in no way forms an accurate representation of one's health.

Healthcare for those who fall within the umbrella term transgender should be basic human decency. Even though the Netherlands is one of the many countries where we are lucky to have the healthcare system that we do, that doesn’t mean we should not look into ways to improve the system.

Healthcare for fat trans people is as necessary, as it is for so called “regular” sized trans people. Denying them access to gender affirming surgeries is not just weight discrimination, but playing with people’s lives.

We live in a world run by and for a bunch of skinny, white, cis-gendered, hetero-sexual men. Yes, there are women running companies and yes there are trans people in politics, but changing the subject of this conversation doesn’t help anybody, so let’s just - for a second - stick to the basic facts.

Trans people were born in a body that doesn’t feel like theirs. They need to undergo surgery after surgery in order to be able to function in society. That alone can be so rough on trans people that they decide to take their own lives. The suicide rates amongst transgender folks are baffling, sky-rocketing atb an all time high. 

A study from 2018 shows that on average nearly 14% of adolescents have previously attempted suicide. Double that amount of suicide attempts were found amongst transgender women and adolescents questioning their gender. Non-binary folks attempt suicide roughly 3 times more often, then their cis-gendered counterparts and a - nothing but shocking - one in two transgender men have attempted suicide.

Concluding this week's - not that Slutty - piece of Science. By denying trans folks gender affirming surgeries, you directly increase the likelihood of them attempting suicide. No matter what the excuse is for denying anybody access to basic healthcare, these rules result in playing with the lives of actual human beings.

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Lots of love,

Ellen Moore.

‘The Slut Show With Ellen Moore’: A place to speak openly about shit you and I have to deal with on a daily basis. About feminism, insecurities, feeling like a bomb ass bitch and obviously about loads of sex. Raw, real and uncensored, Ellen Moore brings you your weekly dose of empowerment.



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