Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
Oregon bans insurer anti-transgender discrimination
The Insurance Division of Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services recently announced new guidelines aimed at prohibiting private health insurance companies from discriminating against a policyholder based on his or her actual or perceived gender identity and expression.
Under the guidelines, insurers cannot deny coverage of hormone therapy, hysterectomies, mastectomies or other medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria and sex-reassignment surgery that are covered for non-transgender policyholders. The guidelines also expand Oregon's statewide mandate for mental health services to include transgendered Oregonians.
"What this means is that trans[gender] Oregonians will have access to basic medically necessary care," Tash Shatz of Basic Right Oregon said in a recent article in the Washington Blade. "It's a huge victory for the transgender community in Oregon. It really represents a sea change in terms of this issue."
The AMA supports public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder as recommended by the patient's physician.
Experts offer insight on treating transgender children and adolescents
Extremely gender-variant youths, increasingly referred to as "trans" or "transgender children," are small in number, but the matter of how to best treat them remains an area of controversy.
A growing body of research supports emerging treatment approaches, but more research still is needed to answer important questions. For instance, do trans minors have a psychiatric disorder or a normal variation of gender presentation? And should treatment be aimed at helping them accept the bodies into which they were born, or should parents, schools and clinicians accommodate their wishes for transition?
A new book, edited by Jack Dresher, MD, and William Byne, MD, explores different clinical approaches to trans minors in the United States and abroad. The book features commentators from various fields, including biology, child psychiatry, civil rights activism, ethics, law, gender studies, queer theory and psychoanalysis. The authors hope their work will serve as a source for families looking at how to proceed with a trans child and clinicians seeking to make appropriate referrals.