The Price Tag Behind Gender Transitioning Will Leave You Stunned
Understanding what it means to be transgender isn’t easy for everyone. Nevertheless, creating an environment of acceptance is crucial in achieving the forward progression of society as a whole. Transgender is an expansive word used to describe any human being whose gender identity differs from the gender of which they were identified at birth. This discrepancy often leads to gender transition.
The journey of transitioning can take many forms and is certainly different for each individual. While some transgender people may choose to opt out of hormone therapy and medical procedures, others find the procedures imperative to leading a full life. And when a person commits to the lengthy commitment of medically transitioning, the costs associated with the procedures can be very expensive.
Some insurance companies will cover hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgeries while others will not. Follow along here are to learn about the financial costs associated with gender transition.
1. A therapist’s signature may be required
- Out-of-pocket cost: $75 to $200 per session
The sixth version of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health‘s Standards of Care required a transgender person to have a letter from their therapist along with three months of therapy sessions prior to receiving the thumbs-up for hormone replacement therapy. However, the seventh version of the WPATH’s Standards of Care does not require such documentation for hormone therapy.
On the other hand, for any bottom gender reassignment surgeries, a letter from a psychologist or therapist is required before moving forward with the procedure. Depending on your insurance provider, therapy sessions have become more commonly covered by insurance companies.
Next: The cost of hormone replacement therapy
2. Hormone replacement therapy
- Out-of-pocket cost: $130 per month
When a person makes the decision to medically transition to a different gender, hormone therapy is a prerequisite. The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgeries requires all patients to complete a full year of hormone therapy prior to surgery. For female-to-male transitions, hormone therapy decreases estrogen levels while increasing testosterone levels in the common range for males. For male-to-female hormone therapy, it’s the opposite.
Some transgender people choose to continue hormone replacement therapy after surgical procedures, while others do not. When choosing not to continue HRT, doctors recommend periodic medical check-ups in order to keep a keen eye on any hormone-related medical conditions.
Next: Surgery is not cheap.
3. Top surgery
Female-to-male top surgeries consist of full breast mastectomies, with a recovery time around six weeks. A male-to-female top surgery consists of a breast augmentation and typical recovery time of six weeks as well. Additional top surgery options focus on altering the upper body to reflect more feminine or masculine.
Next: The price of bottom surgery
4. Bottom surgery
For female-to-male transitions, the phalloplasty, or bottom surgery, can be chosen with additional options such as testicular implants. Depending on the procedures chosen, the surgeries may occur in one or more stages with a recovery time of at least six to eight weeks. For male-to-female transitions, the vaginoplasty is typically a one-stage procedure with a recovery time of four to eight weeks.
Next: Facial surgery could cost as much as $50,000.
5. Facial surgery
Many transgender people opt for facial surgery. The procedures transform the features of an individual to reflect more of the desired gender identity. For female-to-male transitions, augmentation of the chin and cheeks, eyelids, nose, neck, and lips are all common to facial feminization surgery. For male-to-female transitions, similar procedures create a more masculine appearance.
Next: The next procedure could cost $20,000 or more.
6. Hysterectomy and oophorectomy for female-to-male transitions
A female-to-male transgender person may choose to opt out of removing his ovaries (oophorectomy) or uterus (hysterectomy) based on personal preference or future plans, but many doctors recommend following through with the procedures for a couple of reasons. Long-term testosterone treatments have been known to cause polycystic ovarian syndrome, as well as lead to ovarian cancer. Also, upon removing the ovaries and uterus, it’s usually possible to lower testosterone treatments.
Next: An unexpected expense for some people
7. The unforeseen reversal surgery
- Cost: $22,000+
While gender reassignment surgery can be life-affirming for many transgender people, another side does exist. Unfortunately, some transgender people face extreme regret, depression, and even suicidal thoughts after reassignment surgery. In such cases, very complex reversal surgeries are sought out and not easily accessed. Currently, the one sought-after surgeon is Serbian Professor Misoslav Djordjevic is specializing in the gender reconstruction surgeries. However, with his 20 years of experience, Professor Djordjevic has only completed a handful of reversal procedures.
Next: Why it’s worth it.
8. The priceless price tag
For so many transgender people, gender reassignment surgeries affirm confirms the way they’ve always felt. The unfortunate side of this story is that on top of sometimes becoming victims of discrimination, hate crimes, and even being shunned by their families, the costly price tag of these procedures prevent many transgender individuals from accessing the medical interventions they desire.