Planned Parenthood helps transgender community

Portland Press Herald:

Letter to the editor: Planned Parenthood helps transgender community

Americans who identify as LGBT are more likely than non-LGBT Americans to report that they lack health insurance. On Trans Visibility Day, March 31, this is my story about being trans and navigating the health care system. I’d been without insurance for years and was hesitant on filling out the forms to get insurance because I’m transgender. I wanted to be sure that any insurance I received would continue to cover sex-based problems without hassle, such as cervical cancer, especially with the hormones I’ve been taking, so I filled out my forms as female. I’d legally changed my name over a year ago and have been on hormones a while, so talking to someone over the phone felt vulnerable, when I didn’t know if the person on the other line would be okay with me. I’d been getting my hormone therapy through Planned Parenthood for over two years, so I knew how friendly and open the staff was. I could sign up for the marketplace with someone I felt safe with.

Since legally changing my name, I’ve been hitting some snags when I fill out government documents; longer waits and a harder time verifying my identity on even the simplest of things. Signing up on the website, we went through the process of trying to verify my identity and were unsuccessful. I figured it may have something to do with my legal name and so we tried again successfully with my birth name. It didn’t work and just caused more problems. It took three hours on the phone before we were able to change my application name to my legal name.

I’m thankful to Planned Parenthood for having been a safe, nonjudgmental place to go to help me in a complex process. They were real life savers.

Sean Keukelaar

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