On Monday SRLP’s Reina Gossett, spoke at the a press conference at the state capital calling for trans-inclusive Medicaid. The press conference was held by Empire State Pride Agenda as a kick off to LGBT Health Month, which takes place annually in March. This LGBT Health Month, the theme is “Access to Care” for LGBT New Yorkers and attended by advocates as well as state legislators.
Medicaid in New York specifically denies medically necessary healthcare to trans and gender non conforming people, just because of who we are. Trans healthcare includes the same healthcare that non-trans people have access to through Medicaid when they need it. However, because of a discriminatory regulation, transgender people are banned from accessing the very same care. Whether it is routine or preventative care, transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers need access to safe, affordable healthcare. SRLP and GLAAD launched a campaign calling for healthcare for all which includes a series of PSA videos that have been viewed nearly 100,000 times, an infographic, and a petition with over 2,600 signatures. SRLP also partnered with Trans Justice of the Audre Lorde Project, Trans Latinas, Trans Women of Color Collective and Make the Road NY to protest the regulation on Valentine’s Day.
At the press conference, Reina detailed the damage done to the health of trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers by the Medicaid regulation, such as lower compliance with other treatments and the increased likelihood of unsupported self-medication in the absence of affordable, comprehensive healthcare options. Longtime advocate Reverend Hawk Stone as well as Daniella Carter of the Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater New York (TWOCC) also spoke at the press conference, sharing personal experiences with accessing care and the barriers transgender New Yorkers have to access healthcare.
Following the press conference, Reina and Daniella Carter met with Deputy Secretary of Health Courtney Burke’s office who has the power to change the regulation. During the meeting coordinated by the Empire State Pride Agenda they stressed the need for ending discrimination in New York Medicaid.
When asked by Gossett how the NYDOH would respond to sixteen years of public commentary and data supporting an end to the discriminatory regulation in New York Medicaid, the Assistant Deputy Secretary Sally Dreslin said there could be no comment about NYDOH’s view of trans-inclusive healthcare at this time. New York Health Commissioner Nirav Shah recently called the state a “leader in promoting transgender issues,” yet states like California and the District of Columbia have already made great advances in providing trans and gender non-conforming people with access to necessary healthcare.
Among supporters for the repeal of New York’s Medicaid regulation banning trans healthcare is State Senator Brad Hoylman. Holyman recently wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner Shah, calling for the two leaders to remove the regulation and provide eligible New Yorkers access to essential care. Trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers need access to comprehensive, safe, and affordable healthcare now, and GLAAD will continue working with SRLP to educate the public about the importance of repealing the harmful Medicaid regulation New York.
Join our campaign, visit http://srlp.org/healthcare to learn more and take action!