Transgender Pride Flag, image by Lena Balk on unsplash

By Sabat Ali, age 14

As the global pandemic continues to worsen, access to healthcare providers is crucial to staying healthy and safe. However, President Trump’s recent measures have attempted to make it difficult for members of the transgender community to find providers who are willing to treat them.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) forbids any type of discrimination toward a patient, no matter their race, sex, disability, age or country of origin. However, Trump’s recent restriction would permit healthcare providers to refuse care to people in the trans community, as the ruling does not protect a person from discrimination depending on their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

This new rule would have created changes to gender-based discrimination protections that go beyond Section 1557 of the ACA. It impacts certain regulations that pertain to access to health insurance, which includes things like health plan marketing and cost-sharing. However, on August 17 a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from passing the changes. 

Since the beginning of Trump’s time in office, his administration has espoused anti-transgender rhetoric and enacted anti-transgender legislation. In May alone, the administration attacked the LGBTQ+ community three times. On May 15, schools were required to ban all transgender students from having the ability to participate in any school sports, while threatening to retain funding from schools in Connecticut if the rule was not followed. The other rulings proposed ideas such as terminating sexual orientation data on foster youth and encouraging schools to weaken protections for sexual violence and harassment survivors.

“We’re going back to the plain meaning of those terms, which is based on biological sex,” said Roger Severino, who directs the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services and announced the new rule in a written statement on June 12.

“Trump’s ruling is something that is personal because I am a trans man and I know how important trans healthcare is, specifically to a trans person’s mental health, as well as their personal health,” said 30-year-old Max Skaff in an interview with IndyKids. “It is angering to not only see that but the discrimination and transphobia that exists in this country.”

Washington state, as well as many LGBTQIA+ clinics and organizations, including the TransLatin@ Coalition, are working together to sue the Trump administration over the recent ruling. “Everyone deserves easy access to healthcare, and healthcare that is respectful of who we are,” said Bamby Salcedo, the president and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition. “This rule will hurt marginalized communities who already experience barriers to care.”

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which challenged the transgender healthcare rules in court, told the Washington Post, “I hope that this [Supreme Court decision] sends a message to the Trump administration and to federal agencies that they should protect people from discrimination, not expose them to bias and discrimination.”