Two weeks ago I had a doctor’s appointment. It was a consultation with a new doctor for transition related care. During my intake, the transgender health coordinator asked about my profession. I told him I make documentaries. He said: “Oh, really? You should make a film about all of the transphobia in American healthcare.” This was his response while he, a trans man, was providing health care to me, a trans woman. Because we both knew that healthcare is so often a transphobic nightmare.
My appointment was fine, though. The doctor was kind and thorough, and when I was done I went home and wondered: in 2022, when the stars might line up for me to maybe be able to get this surgery, will I still be allowed to? Will transgender healthcare be available to middle-income trans women in the Midwest?
I wondered it, because it is very possible that this care will not there for me. If you wanted to boil down the stakes for trans folks in this election, I think this is it: will we maintain the right to access transition healthcare. A right that, when denied, is often deadly.
Trying to express the importance of voting is so routine these days that it often comes off as banal or annoying or just condescending. And I realize that “please vote so I can get bottom surgery in a couple years” does not accurately reflect the stakes of this, or any, election.
But this is the first Presidential election since my transition, and I am trying to express my emotional response to voting as a woman, on behalf of my rights as a woman, and I am not sure just how to communicate the gravity of such a feeling. So I’m awkwardly talking about future potential surgery.
My life as a woman comes into sharper focus everyday. Even in this historical moment of anti-trans vitriol coming from so many directions, I feel such warmth and strength and honor to be among you. To be among the women who will go to the polls to exercise the right that has been available to my gender for only 100 years (if you are white).
And that’s why I’m not here to tell you to vote. I’m just going to say that I look forward to exercising the right that our foremothers fought to give us, and hope that you will join me at the polls to continue the fight for all women’s right to access health care (including, yes, my bottom surgery).
Leigh Finke (@leighfinke) is an author and documentary filmmaker in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Last week, she helped GLAAD cover the LGBTQ caucus at the Democratic National Convention Leigh recently released “Queerfully and Wonderfully Made“, a handbook for Christian LGBTQ youth.