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Student group wants university to cover transgender surgery procedures

Says lack of cosmetic coverage is ‘unacceptable’

A student group at the George Washington University is demanding that the school alter its insurance policy to cover elective transgender cosmetic surgery, claiming that the exclusion of such surgeries is “wholly unnecessary.”

The group, Graduate Students United, recently launched a petition arguing that the school’s student health policy should cover cosmetic procedures such as elective mastectomies and male breast implants (which the group refers to as “top surgery”), as well as voice modification procedures and hair removal operations. The group refers to these procedures as “comprehensive transgender & gender non-conforming healthcare rights.”

The policy does cover “surgical, hormone replacement therapy, and counseling treatment” for individuals with gender dysphoria, the petition notes.

“We agree with groups like the Transgender Law Center that it is up to the individual and their physician, not Aetna, to determine what is medically necessary. Any pre-set exclusion of ‘cosmetic’ procedures is an unacceptable method of providing adequate healthcare. GW should make assisting its trans students and employees a priority, especially in light of recent attacks by the Trump administration,” the petition declares.

According to the student newspaper The GW Hatchet, a member of the student group recently met with the university’s president, Thomas LeBlanc; the paper reported that the president “did not agree with the clauses and does not want to prevent transgender individuals from seeking certain procedures.”

Dean of the Student Experience Cissy Petty, meanwhile, told The Hatchet that the school would “look at the specific language in our health insurance policy to ensure that the wording better reflects our university values.”

Read the petition here, and The Hatchet‘s report here.

MORE: University offers ‘transition-related benefits’ for transgender students

IMAGE: Nestor Rizhniak / Shutterstock.com

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