I’ve just added the Jim Collins Foundation to my “Resources” section — a group I recently learned about. The Connecticut-based nonprofit provides financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries.
From their website: “The Jim Collins Foundation recognizes that not every transgender person needs or wants surgery to achieve a healthy transition. But for those who do, gender-confirming surgeries are an important step in their transition to being their true selves. However, access to gender-confirming surgery is impossible for most. Discrimination against transgender people is so prevalent that many transgender people struggle to survive, never mind save for surgery costs. Even for those who have health insurance, coverage is systematically denied. Many insurance policies contain a “Transsexual Exclusion Clause” which excludes all medical procedures related to a person’s transgender status. For many transgender people, access to surgery is out of reach.”
I wrote to them last week saying that I was glad someone had already started the nonprofit I’d thought about forming — because now they could do all the work. (But seriously, I did volunteer to help.) Let me stress, as they did, that not everyone wants surgery. But many do. I know that for Lina and me, the issues were both her “passing,” i.e. looking female, and also having her body align with her identity. I have been always grateful that we were among those who could afford the cost of surgery (not to mention laser hair removal!). I’m heartened that more and more employers and health plans are including various gender-conforming surgeries, but it’s still the exception, and I know how privileged we are to be able to pay out of pocket.
While the Jim Collins Foundation, from what I can tell, is awarding a grant to only one person yearly at this point, I assume the plan is to grow the group and share the wealth. For now, please check them out online, consider a donation, regardless of the amount, and thank them for their hard work!
I recently reviewed the Gender Dysphoria section of the DSM-5 and how it might affect insurance issues for trans people in the future. I’m trying to build a readership and would love to know what you think.