Gaining Visibility: The Challenges Facing Transgender Elders

Source: Sean Kennedy
Topics: Discrimination

Transgender-friendly medical providers are key for other reasons, too. For one thing, as stigma lessens over time, many transgender people seek surgery later in life, right when the aging process ramps up. And the older one is, the more risks surgery presents. As Stone puts it: “Anytime you’re having major surgery when you’re aging, you have one less major surgery in you.” Consequently, Stone has had to work with his clients’ medical providers to help them understand why a person of 50, 60, or 70 would opt for “elective” surgery given the risks. “Surgeons need to be comfortable operating on people who have some amount of existing risk but for whom surgery is not contraindicated and who have accepted that risk,” he says. “It’s a whole dialogue—informed consent all the way around.”