Trans Bad Day of Bad Days
TODAY IS A REALLY, REALLY BAD DAY IF YOU’RE TRANS IN THE US. Today, in the middle of a wave of protests against institutionalized racism in our police forces and across our entire society… in the middle of a brutal police crackdown in response to mostly peaceful protests to decry police brutality… in the midst of a full-blown, deadly pandemic that is just finishing the first or second inning in this country with over 115,000 lives claimed in large part due to the most inept response ever undertaken by a POTUS… when the country is crying for real leadership to bridge major differences and grievances, but in turn gets the most divisive, most uncontestably dishonest, most criminal, most lawless, intentionally cruel, most cynically hateful leader who has ever occupied the highest office in the land together with a Senate controlled by Republicans who have willfully shirked their duty to the law owing to instituting their policy platform of hate and cruelty, and who thereby shield POTUS from removal by criminal legal system process or any other means available under the Constitution… IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THAT, comes perhaps the MOST OBSCENE, MOST CRUEL policy action directed against trans people since the administration took office in 2017, against a class of Americans who constitute a tiny fraction of the total population (estimated at 0.7%, including both binary and non-binary trans people, but excluding another 0.9% who self-identify as gender-questioning).
Today, the administration struck down by executive order Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which added transgender people to the list of protected classes who were protected from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. It applied to any health program or activity any part of which received funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services. For trans people, it prohibited “blanket exclusions” by health insurance providers. It also prohibited other forms of discrimination. It covered mental health services, hormones, and gender affirming surgeries. It’s all officially fair game to be cut, back to the bad old days. It should be noted that within a year of 1557 going into effect, health insurers involved with HHS programs began to cover trans healthcare, at least in part, often for the first time ever. And they reduced the number of outright rejections for procedures that were medically necessary (as in letters bearing doctor’s attestations and justifications) , but that their medical “consultants” (really they were hacks) would routinely deny by saying they were “purely cosmetic.” Bye-bye. It’s a giant FU to the trans community. And it’s a warning to the rest of the LGBT community. And that comes on the heels of a giant pile of manure this hateful and willfully cruel administration has already dumped on the trans community here in the US.
1557 was an executive order. So, it could perhaps be overturned on the spot by a new POTUS. However, any effort to enforce it could be tied up in the courts that are being stuffed with trans-hating, lifetime-appointed federal judges. It should be observed that if the US Senate doesn’t swing to a Democratic majority of 60, many features of the hate put in place may stand for a very long time to come. And the Republican propaganda machine will go right back to work, insinuating half-truths and lies to sway the public, stymie real any chance for ethical treatment of and equal protections for the trans community. To say nothing state and local provisions, what with the “red states” and their governors, legislative bodies, and equally hateful judges.
WHY NOW??? Simple. It boils down to this: IQ45 and the Party of Hate are on the ropes due to all the prior scandals and criminality, followed by pandemic, biggest economic downturn since 1929, and nation-wide protests against institutional and society-wide racism. So they revert to their broken wedge issue platform: equal rights as zero sum gain and muscular cruelty. Anybody they can peel off with half-truths and lies, plus doubling down on cruelty as red meat for the haters. The timing is evil genius: Dogwhistle to the hateful faithful. Under the radar to citizens with bigger concerns, like the recession or racism. And on the heels of J.K. Rowling’s doubled-down TERF, half-truth and lie filled manifesto. Just perfect.
I guess they were keeping this Silver Bullet of Hate in reserve. Break Glass Only In Emergency.
CAN YOU BELIEVE ANYONE WITH AN OUNCE OF HUMANITY JEOPARDIZING EQUAL PROTECTIONS IN THE PROVISION OF HEALTHCARE RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF A ONCE-IN-A-CENTURY PANDEMIC CRISIS IN WHICH SO MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING TRANS PEOPLE, ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS AND HEALTH CARE COVERAGE??? IF YOU’RE TRANS IN THE COUNTRY, KNOW THAT THE CRUELTY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION AND THE PARTY BACKSTOPPING IT IS WELL INTO THE UNTHINKABLE ABYSS.
Sadly, to the surprise of no one. We all knew this was on the menu. Farewell 1557.