Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Duke and Gender Confirmation Surgery

After today's discussion of transgender history, I stumbled upon this article about Duke University's expanded health insurance plan:
“The addition of sexual reassignment surgery with a $50,000 cap makes Duke’s student health care plan one of the most, if not the most, transgender-inclusive plans in the country,” Sunny Frothingham, the incoming outreach chair for Blue Devils United (BDU), an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) undergraduates, is quoted by the Chronicle as saying. “This is a huge step forward for Duke.”
While this quote references "sexual reassignment surgery," the rest of the article makes a point to call the procedure "gender confirmation surgery" -- much more positive language. I don't remember coming across this term in Stryker reading. Likely, it's another example of the fast evolution of terms regarding transgender issues.

Also, the end of the article references HRC research: "According to the Human Rights Campaign, the number of major U.S. companies covering the cost of gender confirmation surgery for transgender workers has more than doubled as of 2011."

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting article. I think this raises interesting questions about the appropriateness of including transgender people under the larger LGBT umbrella. If you accept the premise that gender identity and sexual identity are distinct (which, as I understand it, most informed observers do), then it seems as if transgendered people may not really fit with a group (LGB) that defines itself in sexual, rather than gendered, terms. This seems particularly true in light of the medical nature of the transition process. Few people today argue that gay or lesbian identity is a medical condition, much less one that has a medical treatment. There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the two groups (LGB and transgender). Now, the queer label (at least as I understand it) does seem to apply more comfortably to transgendered people, as it includes marginalized groups in general, not just those marginalized for their sexual identities. I suppose it's a bit of a semantic/definitional point, but it does raise interesting questions nonetheless.