Governor Andrew Cuomo announces on Thursday that insurance companies can no longer deny transgender New Yorkers the right for gender reassignment surgeries and other treatments.
In a letter to the insurers the state Department of Financial Services said they “may not deny medically necessary treatment otherwise covered by a health insurance policy solely on the basis that treatment is for gender dysphoria.”
This announcement has put New York on the list of states that mandate coverage, it being the ninth state. The state of New York requires insurance coverage for psychiatric disorders and now the transgender are entitled to this right. It is now also easy for transgender population to get their sex designation on their birth certificates, as well.
A transgender is a person who is non-conforming to their sex that was assigned to them at birth. Transgender is independent of sexual orientation. The terms gender and sex have been explained thoroughly in academic literature. Sex is what an individual acquires by birth so it is physiological or biological. Gender, however, is a category a person gets assigned to by themselves or others. The International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy defined transgender as a wide term which included “transsexuals cross dressers and transgenderists”.
Overlapping definitions exist for transgender and transsexuals. A system was invented by Harry Benjamin which classified the two. Sex Orientation Scale was the name of the system. It categorizes transvestites and transsexuals in one to six based on their urgency for sex reassignment surgery and reasons for cross-dressing.
Transgender may go through a condition known as gender dysphoria also known as Gender Identity Disorder which is a person’s inner conflict and frustration about their gender. This is currently classified as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The seventh version of the Standards of Care (SOC) states that before treatments like gender reassignment surgeries or hormonal treatments may be provided GID must be diagnosed. The new version takes emphasis off of the diagnosis and focuses more on the provision of the diverse spectrum of medical help with flexibility to all the gender non-conformists.