Transgender politics and pro-choice politics go hand in hand.
I am a transgender guy. This is a weird position to be in while talking about Ohio’s Issue 1. When people are talking about pro-choice, they usually use rhetoric as if pro-choice means pro-women. Of course, advocating for accessible reproductive health care does benefit many women.
But cisgender women with the ability to procreate are not the only demographic for which this legislation strikes a chord.
I have never had an abortion. I do not know what that experience is like. I am, however, not a stranger to the health care system in the U.S.
I received a double mastectomy July 7, 2022. To say that gender-affirming surgery was freeing would be an understatement. The doctor removed about 8 grams of tissue from my chest, and about 57,000 pounds of mental anguish off of my back. To illustrate what those 8 grams of breast tissue cost me in tangible values, I have compiled the following list:
- At least one year of hormone replacement therapy
- At least two years of clinically diagnosed gender-induced dysphoria
- A signed letter from a qualified therapist with a specialty in transgender care
- A signed letter from my general physician with a specialty in transgender care
- AT LEAST three weeks' vacation from any occupation, education or responsibility, during which I must have a full-time caretaker
- $1,625.00 in anesthesia costs
- $1,458.00 for the cost of liposuction
- $280.00 in preoperative and postoperative care
- $100.00 for the accumulative pain medication
- $90.00 for a post-operative compression binder
- $60.00 for bandages and Neosporin and Vaseline
And that, unfortunately, is not a comprehensive list.
This cost was four years' worth of my savings. It required withstanding blazing hot weekends in the August sun to direct traffic. It required sleepless weekday nights babysitting violently intoxicated residents inside the dormitory. It required back-to-back shifts on my feet pleasing customers and bending over backward to kiss even the slimiest of ass.
The surgery wasn’t particularly painless, either.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m a white, able-bodied, college-educated person, which greatly skews my privilege. I pass as a man, which means a common stranger probably wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a crowd. I have a fantastic support system. I even have insurance.
I can’t emphasize enough just how lucky I am.
After tasting freedom, I can't help but know that this is a fundamental basis of human experience. To rob bodily autonomy from the citizen is nothing less than a violation of human rights. The Supreme Court decided otherwise.
Affordable and accessible reproductive health care is not a privilege. An abortion is not a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon. It is a fundamental human right.
We have met at an intersection where people who are fighting for trans-affirming health care are also fighting for reproductive health care. We are on the same team.
Trans people are part of a vulnerable population. Cisgender women are part of a vulnerable population. Together now more than ever, we must work as one cohesive unit. As a man with a uterus, I am desperate for a whisper of representation or acknowledgment. It is easy to feel helpless and hopeless. To the people voting “yes” on Issue 1, who do not require legislation to garner bodily autonomy, thank you for your presence. To the people voting “yes,” who are desperate, angry and frightened, thank you for your strength.
Let us remember that support generates power.
Jamie is a senior at Ohio University pursuing a degree in News and Information Journalism and a degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Please note that the views expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Jamie about his article? Email him at email@example.com.