Today, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) voiced concerns at New York's Population Health Summit, an educational public health event held by Health Commissioner Nirav. R. Shah, calling for the repeal of a discriminatory regulation in the state's Medicaid program that bans transgender and gender non-conforming people from accessing healthcare they need. Members of SRLP displayed a banner during the presentation and handed out flyers to educate Health Summit attendees about the regulation and its harmful repercussions for transgender New Yorkers, as seen in the photo below.
SRLP, a New York-based legal aid organization that serves low-income people and people of color who are transgender and gender non-conforming, was present at the summit as part of an ongoing campaign, created with GLAAD, which highlights the need for safe and accessible healthcare for transgender people. The campaign includes a series of PSA videos featuring transgender advocates and allies that have been viewed nearly 100,000 times. You can watch the full series of videos here.
In conjunction with the campaign, Reina Gossett, a transgender woman who appears in the PSA series, launched a Change.org petition calling New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Shah to repeal Medicaid's discriminatory regulation. The petition has over 2,000 signatures.
Currently, transgender New Yorkers are prevented from accessing the healthcare they need, whether it's preventative care or hormone therapy, through Medicaid because of the regulation. With transgender people living in poverty at 4 times the national average, a staggering 19% of transgender people report lacking any form of health insurance, including Medicaid. This policy not only targets trans people unfairly, but legally reinforces discrimination by insurance carriers and health care providers.
"For Medicaid to exclude one group of people from accessing the healthcare they need, just because of their gender identity, is discriminatory," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "Transgender people in New York are still not protected from bias under the law. Governor Cuomo and Health Commissioner Shah should do the right thing, and repeal the harmful regulation."
Join GLAAD and Sylvia Rivera Law Project in raising awareness about health care discrimination and taking action to bring about Healthcare For All.
Sign the Change.org petition to repeal the New York State Medicaid regulation denying coverage to trans and gender non-conforming people.