Jay Kallio, a former EMT who is disabled with kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis and now cancer, has struggled to get good medical care, but being transgender stood in the way.
At the age of 50, Kallio transitioned from female to male, but never had gender reassignment surgery, only hormone treatment. “I accept my body as I was born,” he said.
But when a suspicious lump was found in his breast and tested positive for cancer, the surgeon was so shocked that Kallio’s body didn’t match his gender identification—not knowing whether to address him as “he” or “she”—that he couldn’t bring himself to tell his patient the grim biopsy results.
Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said that under the Affordable Care Act, it is against the law to discriminate against transgender and LGBT patients in federally funded healthcare programs.