The Intersectionality of a Transgender Person
— by Callum Cintron (They/He)
Who am I?
I am transgender, disabled and low-income.
What does this mean?
It means my transition is exhausting.
How does being low-income affect my transition?
When you are on state health insurance, you can be fortunate enough to pay no costs. In turn, you are offered a minute list of providers to pick from. It took 10 months for me to find someone who specialized in gender therapy and took my insurance. You generally need therapy letters to get approved for hormone replacement therapy or gender affirmation surgery, so this was a necessity. I then went to an endocrinologist, who I found out at the appointment did not prescribe testosterone for transgender patients. I had to wait two months to see his colleague who did, the only doctor in a practice of a dozen who would prescribe hormones.
The drive to the endocrinologist’s office was over an hour. Over the next three visits, I was called a woman and referred to with she/her pronouns by doctors and nurses who regularly worked with transmasculine patients. I told my doctor I was transitioning from female to male, fearing that uttering the word “genderqueer” would bar me from accessing hormones. Insurance refused to approve covering my testosterone until the doctor fought for it. This process took five months before I received my first shot. I get deadnamed, misgendered, and drive an hour away to appointments because I am afraid to jeopardize my access to hormone replacement therapy.
How does being disabled affect my transition?
I cannot make it through surgery. In 2020, I attempted to get my wisdom teeth out and my vitals changed drastically to the point where doctors could not complete the surgery. This means gender affirmation surgery is out of reach, potentially forever. Binding exacerbates my medical issues and is not an option. Every time I see my chest in a Zoom meeting or photograph, my heart sinks. I fear that as my voice changes and my facial hair grows, my chest will leave me open to danger from those who do not accept me. I don’t get to set a dream date for surgery. I am at the mercy of my disabilities. My dysphoria rests in the hands of a mysterious illness.
What does this all mean together?
This means I must take what I can get. I have to see whichever doctor will take my insurance and then fight with insurance till they pay. I don’t get to select a doctor who is actually transgender knowledgeable. I get to be deadnamed and misgendered at every visit. I let it go so as to not risk my hormone access. I am hypervigilant every time I am in a meeting or take a photo in which my chest might be seen. Making sure to talk a few octaves higher and being thankful for masks covering my facial hair to stay safe in public due to my visible chest.
I have to be thankful I got access to hormones at all. I have to pretend that the pain of uneducated medical staff and no gender affirmation surgery in sight doesn’t make it hard to get out of bed. That the anxiety from seeming male from the neck up but female from the neck down, potentially getting me harassed or killed, isn’t soul crushing. It means I have to be thankful for what little a cisnormative society has given me, even when it is not enough.
Who am I really?
I am genderqueer, transmasculine, chronically ill, financially burdened, and defeated.
What can you do for transgender people?
Find out about local anti-trans bills and contact your representatives about them
Donate to transgender organizations
Love the transgender people in your life