Amida Care Member Advocates for Access to Gender-Affirming Care
July 12 2023
In a recent City Limits op-ed, Amida Care member Shauna Brooks makes a powerful argument for the continuation and expansion of protections for gender-affirming care in New York State. She shares her own story as a cautionary tale: “Growing up in urban Virginia 20 years ago, no doctors had expertise in gender-affirming care. So instead of going to a safe, licensed healthcare provider to get the care I needed, I turned to unlicensed care.”
When she became sick and hospitalized, doctors initially couldn’t figure out the problem. However, “That all changed a few years ago when I became a member of Amida Care. This Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan helped me secure the gender-affirming and ultimately life-saving health care I needed … For the first time, I felt understood by a medical professional.”
Shauna highlights the importance of access to comprehensive, gender-affirming care, reflecting that “Much of my progress toward a healthier life is because my health plan connected me to gender-affirming care along with primary care, mental health supports, and sexual health services like PrEP so that I can stay HIV-negative. Amida Care’s clinical standards align with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health standards of care, cover gender-affirming surgeries, and work with an expansive network of providers with experience caring for transgender, gender-nonconforming or non-binary (TGNCNB) patients.”
Shauna recently joined advocates in Albany to successfully lobby the state legislature to pass the New York Safe Haven for Transgender Youth and Families legislation, a crucial step in making New York a sanctuary state by safeguarding transgender youth from out-of-state laws limiting gender-affirming care. The bill was recently signed into law by the governor, but there is more work to be done.
“We must not be complacent. People of trans experience in many parts of the country are being targeted for simply being who we are … Gender-affirming care saved my life. It should be accessible to everyone who needs it.”
Read the full op-ed here