98.9 'Breakfast Buzz' hosts Kimberly and Beck used news of a new trans-inclusive policy of Rochester, NY, to mock transgender people. Rochester, NY, added health benefits for transgender city employees and their families, and Kimberly and Beck used this news to call trans people "nutjobs" and say, "The dude can look like a lady and the city is going to pay for it!"
Describing transgender people as "nut jobs" is insulting, and saying that transgender healthcare is cosmetic goes against statements from the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, all of which affirm that treatments for transgender people are safe, effective, and medically necessary. Here are some facts that Kimberly and Beck could've reported on the show:
- 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, but studies have shown that access to adequate healthcare lowers transgender suicidality rates.
- Insurance coverage for transgender healthcare is not cost prohibitive, as many public and private insurance plans that cover it have made the change without significantly raising costs.
- Transgender people who can't get their healthcare covered may be forced to turn to unregulated sources for hormone treatments, etc., without guidance from a healthcare provider, placing their health at risk.
Transgender healthcare is not new or outlandish, and it isn't 'special' healthcare, as the sensationalized segment purports. It's the same healthcare that non-trans people access everyday when they need it, but it is often denied to transgender people just because of who they are. The hosts should be held accountable for their irresponsible behavior, and at a minimum a formal apology should be issued. Furthermore, listeners of 'Breakfast Buzz' should be directed to resources that provide accurate, fair-minded information about transgender healthcare coverage. Tweet at the hosts to tell them the truth about trans healthcare!
Listen to the full segment:
GLAAD has reached out to 98.9 and will keep you updated on any further developments.