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.

Ask Gabriel: Surgery and Labeling Yourself

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 15 years old and I have been seeing my gender therapist for around eight months now (I have been out as FTM for around a year and a half now) and she refuses to let me begin my transition in fear that I’ll grow out of it. (By that, I mean she won’t let me begin testosterone). I am pre-everything and the way I look is starting make me pass less and less. I can’t change therapists because she’s the only one near me! (I live in a very conservative area) Any advice would be greatly appreciated! – Sebastian

Have you asked them what specifically makes them feel you will grow out of this? It might have been certain things you have disclosed to this therapist, which led them to believe that waiting would be best for the moment Also, you will more than likely need parental permission to go on testosterone (as you are underage) so that is most likely the reason than anything else. But this is just guesswork so please ask your therapist at your next session and then, depending on what they say, make a case for yourself that it is not temporary. Good luck! Continue reading

Ask Gabriel: Parents and Testosterone

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 came out socially as a binary transgender man about a year ago, with my name changed and everything. But because I’m in the UK and/or trying to move out, I am unable to start my medical transition for a number of years (probably 3-5). I’m 21 and it’s killing me that I don’t pass and I really don’t know what to do. I feel so desperate and isolated because you have to wait so long to see a gender specialist here. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about it. – Scott

There’s many things you can do while waiting for testosterone. You can try and practice making your voice lower, which might help you pass better. And seeing as how you don’t have anyone to talk to about this, I would highly suggest going to nearby transgender support groups so you can build connections and possibly make new friends. Who knows, you might meet someone else who is in the exact same position that you are in! Never underestimate the power of community, friend. šŸ™‚

If attending real life support groups might be too much for you, you can also join my Facebook group. While the group is largely US-based, we do have people here from the UK! Continue reading