Ask Gabriel: Insurance and Dysphoria

Ask Gabriel is an advice column series where you can get your questions answered about being transgender, coming out, changing your name, hormones, sexuality, representation, dating, etc. These are questions that have been submitted to me by transgender and nonbinary people! You can read my last column here.

Hi Gabriel,

I’m genderqueer (AMAB) and I started going by my new name a few months ago. I really like the name but I often have doubts about it and my gender identity as a whole. I’ve been questioning my gender for almost three years yet I still wonder if it’s all just in my head. I feel like I’m making the whole thing up and like a hypocondriac diagnosing themself. Although I like the name and think it suits me, I can’t quite pinpoint what my feelings are towards it. I think it might have to do with the fact that I don’t look as androgynous as I would like to. Do you know of any AMAB nonbinary people who have gotten FFS? I’m 16 and live in Germany and don’t know what my options are, especially since there aren’t any gender therapists in my area. The closest is two hours away. Germany is going to recognize a third sex/gender in late 2018 so that narrows down my options as well. Does trans-friendly insurance usually cover a hair transplant (which would help feminize the face) for a nonbinary person? – Seva

It is normal to have second thoughts about your gender identity – everyone who is transgender/gender nonconforming has had them at least once or twice in their life. It’s a major life change and making the adjustment requires the person to be resilient against obstacles that might arise (unaccepting people in your life, insurance not covering your care, etc.). There’s no rush in settling on a name, sometimes you need to experiment with names for a while before you go off and legally change it because you might have to change it later if you just rush into it (*cough* like I did *cough cough*) Trans-friendly insurance will most likely cover gender-affirming surgeries – it’s finding the surgeon who takes your insurance to cover the procedure AND has results you like is what’s going to be difficult. I would highly suggest that you call your insurance and ask about your coverage. Hope this helps!

Hi Gabriel,

What’s the best health care insurance to get? I only have a part-time job and make enough to pay for insurance but I need ideas on which is the best. – Anonymous

Unfortunately, every single insurance has several different plans which all have different coverage and deductibles (even jobs have their own health insurance plans that are different than you would find in the marketplace) and couldn’t tell you off the top of my head which plans specifically cover transgender-related care in your state. In New York, Medicaid-managed plans covers transgender-related care but each plan has different coverage and I went with an insurance navigator at a local LGBTQIA+ center in the city to help me choose my health insurance that covers that. Since you said you live in Texas, you could do the same thing I did and see if any local LGBTQIA+ center in your area offers assistance with insurance and they will most likely, if nothing else, have resources or options for you to choose the best healthcare for you that covers what you need and hopefully doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Here are a few places to look into:

Montrose Center
https://www.montrosecenter.org/hub/

Pride Center San Antonio
http://pridecentersa.org/

Resource Center
http://www.rcdallas.org/

Wishing you all the best, good luck in your search! šŸ™‚

Hi Gabriel,

How do you deal with crushing dysphoria? I’ve been trying to transition for over four years, but still can’t get on hormones because my insurance won’t pay for it. I just want to cry, die, or both… – Anonymous

I’m very sorry to hear this, friend. I hope this answer finds you safe, secure and warm for the holidays. I know dysphoria is at an all-time high at this time of year, what with unsupportive family or partners who can’t seem to understand what you are going through or even friends who cast you aside in your most vulnerable times. What really gets me through the tough times is doing things I enjoy (which is making videos, writing, listening to music or simply playing video games) or take it as a sign to step back from life – if only for a few hours – to practice self-care. Self-care could be anything positive you can think of: for example, self-care for me looks like going to the barbershop for that much-needed haircut I have been putting off for days or getting a deep-tissue massage because my body is feeling sore out of stress or overworking.

Gender Identity Resources in the UK

This is a list of resources that are available to those who live in the United Kingdom (composed of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and go through The Nation Health Service [a.k.a. NHS]) Huge thanks to my friend Ciara Marshall for this list, couldn’t have done it without them. šŸ™‚

NOTE: If there are any inaccuracies or know something that should be added to this list, don’t hesitate to let me know!

General Resources and Support

Name Website Comments
Gender Identity Research & Education Society http://www.gires.org.uk Uses research and individual experiences to help educate others.
Sparkle https://www.sparkle.org.uk/ Actively promotes fundraising and transgender awareness.
Trans Media Watch http://www.transmediawatch.org/ Aims to improve media representation and coverage.
Gendered Intelligence http://genderedintelligence.co.uk/ Develops youth programs, workshops and offers sensitivity training.
Mind (Mental Health Charity) https://www.mind.org.uk/ Provides a huge range of mental health resources.
Unity Group Wales https://www.unitygroup.wales/ Offers a wide range of support services for transgender folks.
Scotting Trans http://www.scottishtrans.org/support/support-groups-in-scotland/ Promotes and strives to improve transgender rights and inclusion in Scotland.
Umbrella Cymru https://www.umbrellacymru.co.uk/ Offers a wide range of gender identity resources in Wales.

Health Resources

Name Website Comments
National Health Service (NHS) http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gender-dysphoria/Pages/Treatment.aspx Official site of the National Health Service.
National Health Service (NHS) http://www.teni.ie/attachments/9ea50d6e-1148-4c26-be0d-9def980047db.PDF Official site of the National Health Service.
National Health Service (NHS) https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Transhealth/Documents/LivingMyLife.pdf Official site of the National Health Service.
Gender GP (Dr Helen Webberly) https://gendergp.co.uk/ A gender specialist and her team that offers a wide range of medical services for transgender people.

Continue reading

Binders and Free Binder Programs

The following table is a list of brands that offer binders for the transgender and gender nonconforming community. A binder is an undergarment that is used for the sole purpose of safely compressing your chest.

NOTE: If there are any inaccuracies or any websites that I may have missed, please let me know! šŸ˜€

Name Website Price Range
Underworks http://www.underworks.com/ $28 – $35
Gc2b https://www.gc2b.co/ $33 – $36
FLAVNT Streetwear http://www.flavnt.com/ $50
T Kingdom http://www.t-kingdom.com/ $43 – $75
Shapeshifters http://www.shapeshifters.co/ $40 – $100

CAN’T AFFORD A BINDER? These are the following places that offer free binders to those who can’t afford or otherwise cannot receive a binder for any reason.

Name Website Comments
Point of Pride https://pointofpride.org/chest-binder-donations/ Long waiting time.
In A Bind http://www.transactiveonline.org/inabind/get.php Only for ages 18 and under.
Trans Alike http://www.transalike.com/connectwithme/ This person receives many donations; use the contact form. They also do a monthly binder giveaway.
Chase Ross Monthly Binder Giveaway http://www.uppercasechase.com/binders.html Random chance; binder not guaranteed.
Free Youth Binder Program https://www.ftmessentials.com/pages/ftme-free-youth-binder-program Only for those 24 years and under.
Big Brother Binder Program http://www.thetransitionalmale.com/BBUB.html Will not ship to anyone under 18 years old without parental consent.