Recently, in honor of Transgender Awareness Week (November 13-19), the Washington Blade and the Los Angeles Blade published an op-ed by Amida Care member and activist Rene Melendez. In the piece, Rene writes movingly about beginning her journey to access gender-affirming care at age 55 after realizing that she had been fighting the lifelong urge to be her authentic self. After encountering a major obstacle to care—insurance denial—she was finally able to access gender-affirming surgery when she became an Amida Care member: “As I celebrate my 7th Transgender Awareness Week as a trans woman, I feel stronger, more confident, and more at peace with myself than I did before I took that leap. I have the healthcare I need—from primary care, to being cured of Hepatitis C, to mental health services—to take care of my full self.” Read the full op-ed here.
Rene’s story serves as an inspirational reminder of why our work and advocacy around gender-affirming care is so important, and it reiterates our commitment to this work and to the health and wellbeing of the TGNC community. Trans Awareness Week ends with Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, when we honor the memory of the trans people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. The day is a stark reminder of the work we still need to do.