I held a town hall for trans individuals Monday March 6 because they are typically neglected by politicians, and that's not the kind of public servant I want to be. Even worse, they are often neglected by activists who are fighting for human rights, non-profits, close friends and family members.
As expected, I learned so much, from simple vocabulary (misgendering, deadnaming, gender dysphoria, and gatekeeping) to the complex issues many face: Being told by surgeons that the issues caused by gender dysphoria (e.g., depression and social anxiety) can prevent eligibility for surgery, being told by insurance companies that only parts of a covered surgery are included (no nipples in a top surgery), being denied entry into certain bathrooms despite NYC law, facing harassment on MTA only to discover (despite signage to the contrary) that no process exists to address it, at certain health centers being drowned in paperwork to obtain hormones, and despite the NYC trans discrimination law facing discrimination in terms of employment, among others.
As I told the attendees, a mix of transmasculine, transfeminine, and non-binary individuals, once elected, I can introduce bills outlining processes to address harassment and give already existing laws teeth in terms of enforcement. I can also pressure NYS to engage in better enforcement regarding insurance coverage by bringing awareness to compliance failures.
I am grateful to everyone who came and shared their stories. I know that my story does not compare to theirs, but I must confess that I noted some parallels. As an adoptee who was prevented from meeting his family of origin for 48 years due to a New York State law signed in 1935, I am aware of the social anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts that can come from being denied the understanding, enjoyment, or expression of your true identity. I came from this town hall even more determined to help bring awareness and solutions to issues the trans community faces.