Transgender people being denied lifesaving surgeries as hospitals prioritize coronavirus cases
Gender-affirming surgery is necessary for transgender and non-conforming people as many of them suffer from gender dysphoria, and tend to harm themselves if proper surgeries are not performed
Transgender people are being prevented from receiving "lifesaving" operations amid the elective and cosmetic surgery restrictions in place because of the coronavirus crisis across the world. A recent report, published by Vice magazine, interviewed a few people who are facing delays getting breasts or their genitalia altered to transform their bodies.
Coronavirus has claimed 340 lives in the United States with at least 26,747 infected with the deadly virus across the country. Meanwhile, the infection cases have risen to over 300,000 worldwide, with over 11,000 reported deaths.
The Vice report stated that "gender-affirming" surgery is necessary for transgender and non-conforming people as many of them suffer from gender dysphoria, and tend to harm themselves if proper surgeries are not performed. Nearly 0.6 percent of the population in the US identified as transgender in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"For transgender and gender non-conforming people, gender-affirming surgeries are life-altering procedures, which, for many, can greatly reduce gender dysphoria and improve their quality of life," the report claimed. "But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, trans communities on Reddit and Twitter are being flooded with reports of postponed and canceled surgeries in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Thailand, and elsewhere, leading to enormous stress and disappointment on top of a global health crisis."
"This underscores a common experience amongst trans people seeking medical care or surgery: Research has suggested that gender-affirming surgery, in particular, has a notable and long-term impact on mental health, but far too often, trans people already wait far longer than is safe or healthy for this care," the report added. "Further delays can be dangerous and even life-threatening."
A transgender person living in New York, Violet Jones, told the outlet that she is still hoping to get a procedure done in May this year. However, for now, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, has issued an executive order in the region, delaying non-emergency surgery for the "next few weeks" as coronavirus cases and deaths in the area are skyrocketing, with the mayor even calling the city the "epicenter" of coronavirus cases in the country.
Riley Cooper, 23, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, told the outlet that he wants "top surgery" to remove his female breasts. "This is the third time it’s been postponed,” he said. “It’s getting more and more heartbreaking to keep getting so close to something that will make me feel better and feel like I’m in the right body for once."
The executive director at Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, Joshua Safer, told the outlet that staff are reaching out to patients for assistance amid these trying times. "Our team is on duty for patients with concerns that cannot be postponed including in-person post-operative care for our surgical patients, especially those who have had recent surgeries. We are also instituting some telehealth capacity to help some patients for whom that makes sense," he said. "As soon as it is safe to do so, all postponed surgeries and clinic appointments will be rescheduled with the highest priority."