char – inside

All the trans news that fits! (and some that never will)

Dear Mr. President, I am a Trans Veteran . . .

Dear Mr. President,
As I write this letter, your speech writers are probably putting the final touches on your final State of the Union Address. I am not writing to you as a representative of any group or organization. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to tell you a little about me so that you can gain a deeper appreciation for the plight of Transgender veterans.

I am a 60-year-old Transgender woman, a cancer survivor, a Trans rights activist, a part-time college instructor, a parent and a grandparent, and a veteran of the United States Navy. My only health care is what I receive through the VA Health Care System, and I can tell you that it has been very, very good for me.

Still, Transgender veterans often find themselves homeless, and even here in Michigan during the winter months we are denied shelter. One of the most tragic aspects of discrimination and profiling based on negative stereotypes is that all the accomplishments of a person can be wiped away because of someone else’s prejudices.

However, what you have done on our behalf does not go unnoticed. I am certain that many, many other Trans veterans are anxious about the upcoming election in November. We are afraid the next president will derail your good work by eliminating the directives from your office that have helped thousands of Trans veterans receive the health care they so desperately need. Without exaggeration, Mr. President, I can tell you with confidence that your directives have saved the lives Transgender veterans, and for that I will always be grateful.

There is still much to be done.

Despite being named instructor of the year and woman of the year by colleagues and students, I have lost jobs because of anti-Transgender discrimination. I have not had a full-time position in more than 10 years, and my story is only one of thousands just like it. What this has meant is that too many Transgender veterans have no health insurance to pay for reassignment surgery, and not enough income to save the $30,000 to pay for the surgery themselves. Imagine laying your life on the line for your country, only to be told that because of your Gender Identity, you cannot have the surgery your doctors and virtually every major medical organization say is medically necessary. It is humiliating and it dehumanizes us.

I am certain that you feel the same way and that you wish you could have done more. I hope you can speak to this issue during your State of the Union. It would mean so much to so many.

Thank you so much for all that you have done for Trans veterans,
Char Davenport


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