Exploring Gender: A Letter to President Obama
President Obama’s inauguration speech was beautiful: “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk along; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”
He is a brilliant speaker, and his willingness to bring Stonewall into the spotlight—the first time a president has acknowledged this uprising—was a validation of all of the hard work of groups such as the HRC. But one eleven-year-old girl, Sadie, questioned President Obama’s exception of trans* individuals in his speech. Thank you, Sophie, for this elegant letter.
Now, President Obama has done a lot for the trans* community, but Sophie is right. The main thing the community needs right now is visibility and support. The President’s choice to mention Stonewall was a major victory, and hopefully in the future his vocal support for the trans* community will stretch into the public arena so visibility will help promote good works, such as this story out of Oregon, which I hope reaches Sophie and makes her smile.
Trans* kids do not have the same access to healthcare as many other individuals, but Oregon is becoming the first state to cover treatments for gender dysphoria in children and teens under Medicaid. Beginning in October 2014, coverage will extend to cover counseling, medication to suppress puberty, and other procedures and care to help trans* kids to handle dysphoria or to transition. Medication to suppress puberty can cost in excess of $1000 a month. Oregon’s steps to help trans* children and their parents will hopefully be followed by other states.