I really enjoyed going to First Event this year. One of the things I wanted to do was to check into some of the medical procedures available. My plan was to give myself the full two years on HRT to allow the hormones to do their thing. After that, I would look at ways to fine tune my appearance and possibly put together a plan for full surgery.
One of the things that bothered me about the First Event workshops was the attitude of some of the doctors. I won’t get into specific doctors, that is up for those who are choosing to have surgery to investigate. I have a rule when I deal with most vendors. If you denounce a competitor and say their methods are bad, or how you have to fix other people’s work all the time, then it raises red flags with me. Tell me what you can do without resorting to telling me that this other doctor can’t do the job right and you have to fix their work. Whether there is truth in that or not, I feel it is unprofessional.
Let me take a brief sidetrack to note about doctors doing stuff like this. I was told that the Southern Transgender conference, Southern Comfort, ended up shut down. It appears that a couple of doctors were playing that game and found out about each other saying bad things about the other and sued. The problem was that they named the event as a co-defendant and the event ended up have to close down due to the lawsuit. We need more events, not less. There is a lot of good information and support that come out of these events that help people in the community. To think that we lost an event because of doctor’s egos is abhorrent.
That being said, back to my journey. One of the things that bothers me most, okay besides being an Amazon, is my voice. I decided to check out one doctor’s session on altering the voice. Of course, when he started bashing other doctors methods and saying his was best, oh and about $4000 more than the others, I got leery, but stayed to listen. I am trying to remember the exact costs, but I will ball park. He said there were three methods in use today, the one he did was to remove the front of the voice box and shorten the vocal cords and shrink the voice box. All told about a $10,000 procedure. He said most doing the web procedure where they suture the bottom of the vocal cords together to shorten them. He said that doesn’t really work and his is the best. Of course, I was thinking to myself, then why are all the other doctors doing this procedure?
It is bad enough that until recently, most insurances didn’t cover any of this, but when you have doctors competing and saying this method is bad and their method is good, but then the other doctor saying just the opposite, it becomes frustrating. It is even more frustrating when you have to pay for all of this out of pocket.
Let me give you some sample costs that I found on the Internet to illustrate what we face:
Forehead/brow lift with brow bone reduction and hairline advance, approx $6200.
Thyroid cartilage reduction (Trachea Shave?), approx $3600
Upper Lip shortening (this brings the lip up and gives fuller lips), approx $4,400
Breast Augmentation, approx $8200
Buttock Augmentation (implants), approx $9500
Buttock Augmentation (fat transplant) approx $6500 (might be good to move that belly fat, LOL)
Calf Augmentation (implants), approx $6500
Orchiectomy (removal of testicles), approx $4600
Vaginoplasty (one-stage with penile inversion, clitoroplasty, and labiaplasty), approx $19750
As you can see all of these costs add up. While there are many in the community who are just satisfied with being able to live their lives as their true selves, there are many who find the “other” parts abhorrent and need to get their physical body in alignment. Our health insurance industry was allowed, until recently thanks to ACA, to discriminate and deny transgender care. Because of this and the costs involved to align our bodies with our minds, many transgender people were forced to turn to the sex trade. I am hoping that the new administration does not repeal ACA and leaves intact the obligation to cover transgender care. No one should have to sell their body to be who they are!!!!
The point of this whole series and why I am continuing it, is to bring education and awareness. It is hoped that the more people understand, the more people will care and will work to make all of this easier. There are too many transgender people committing suicide. With a rate over 45%, this has to stop. The part I don’t understand is why is it the religious right who push to deny the LGBT community their rights, deny transgender health care? If they were true Christians, their love would be for all people. They would be working to help, not destroy. Jesus embraced all who came to him. Maybe it is time for Christians to do the same.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.
Emma Morgaine Croft