Aging Trans People Locked Out of U.S. Health Care System

Nov. 9, 2015 / By

In the rural Pacific Northwest, 50 miles from the nearest city, lives a man who does not want to be found. He came of age during the 1950s, when saying you felt as if you were trapped in a body that you didn’t belong in—you were assigned female at birth, but you identified as a boy, say—would be met with at best dismay and confusion, and at worst brutal abuse.

At 14, with no support system in sight, he attempted suicide, depressed at the physical changes taking place in his adolescent female body. At 19, he began taking testosterone, starting the transition into the person he knew he really was. His family told friends “she” had disappeared and then introduced him as a male cousin who had moved to the area.

He married, became a stepfather and went off to live his life as a man. He never told anyone about his past. Now in his 70s, he remains deeply closeted (even members of his own family aren’t aware of his transition) and deeply isolated (his wife passed away).


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