Tags: transgender | inmates | NIH | taxpayer funded

Taxpayers on Hook for $200,000 to Study 'Trans Women' Inmates

By    |   Wednesday, 25 February 2015 12:09 PM

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently spending more than $200,000 to study "gender affirmation" and the effects of incarceration on transgendered women imprisoned in San Francisco, and on how to create "culturally relevant" interventions with the group, reports The Washington Free Beacon.

According to the federal grant awarded to the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), the study is being conducted because "trans women who have been arrested are more likely to report mental illness, using substances, engaging in risky sex, and needing trans-sensitive services upon release."

A 2012 paper written by the project's lead investigator, Jeanne M. Sevelius, defines gender affirmation as "the process by which individuals are affirmed in their gender identity through social interactions," according to the Free Beacon.

"Incarceration is a significant public health issue that disproportionately impacts transgender women, and the cycle of incarceration interacts with high levels of substance use, mental illness, and HIV to produce an elevated burden of disease among this population," the project grant says.

The project, which began last September, is scheduled to continue until August 2017 and taxpayers already have spent $226,364, reports The Free Beacon.

"Gender differences in health, post-release service needs, and predictors of engagement in healthcare call for gender-specific strategies," says the grant.

As many as 20 of those interviewed at the San Francisco County Jail will participate in a test of the gender affirmation intervention.

In 2013, the NIH published an article examining the experiences of "transgender women of color" living in San Francisco who had recently been incarcerated.

The data was gathered from interviews with 21 trans women conducted between 2008 and 2009, and the article was intended to offer "a new framework for conceptualizing risk behavior among transgender women of color, specifically sexual risk behavior and risky body modification practices."

The NIH studies reflect a growing involvement of the federal government in the treatment of transgendered individuals, including providing funds for gender reassignment surgery and related drugs.

During a Jan. 30 business meeting held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCR), an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that illegal immigrants in detention would be permitted to receive hormone therapy for those undergoing sex changes, according to CNS News.

"With respect to treatment while in detention — the medical care standard — the standards guarantees a right to hormone therapy for individuals who need it for treatment, and even in facilities that are not covered by that standard. Our ICE House Service Corps is very vigilant on that issue to ensuring that individuals receive necessary hormone therapy," Kevin Landy, assistant director of the ICE office of detention policy and planning, told the USCR.

Historically, the federal government has excluded the cost of medical services, including drugs, related to sex transformations, but that changed last year after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a letter to health insurance companies regarding how individuals could define themselves on insurance forms and reinforced the need to "provide health benefits consistent" with their medical status.

The June letter to insurers directed them "to allow individuals who identify as transgender to select their preferred gender designation" for their health records.

"There is an evolving professional consensus that treatment is considered medically necessary for certain individuals who meet established Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) criteria for a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria," wrote John O'Brien, director of OPM's Healthcare and Insurance office, in a June 13 bulletin to health insurers.

"Accordingly, OPM is removing the requirement that FEHB brochures exclude 'services, drugs, or supplies related to sex transformations' in Section 6 of the FEHB plan brochure effective with the 2015 plan year," he added.

The biggest change in government funding for gender reassignment services and drugs came with the passage of Obamacare, which prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people, according to Kaiser Health News.

Because the government considers gender dysphoria as a pre-existing condition, insurers cannot deny coverage and in those states which have expanded the federal Medicaid program, qualified individuals can now receive free coverage.

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently spending more than $200,000 to study "gender affirmation" and the effects of incarceration on transgendered women.
transgender, inmates, NIH, taxpayer funded
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 12:09 PM
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