Amid this pandemic that has left the world woefully unprepared, and our medical professionals struggling to provide care, it’s been all hands on deck to combat this crisis. One thing that’s become clear is that there aren’t enough hands to manage what is an unprecedented event in this age properly. With hospitals in some parts of the country (and the world) stretched beyond the breaking point for beds, recourse, and personnel, is it any wonder that all non-essential surgeries have been postponed indefinitely until the Covid-19 crisis is defeated?
I guess the real question then becomes, what is ‘essential” and how do we determine the criteria for that? In the case of the trans community, most consider re-assignment surgeries to be utterly essential to their overall health and well-being.
This isn’t JUST about emotional well-being, though that should not be discounted. For many who have finally been able to schedule a surgery that will allow them to love and accept their physical person, these procedures represent steps towards the end goal of totally being able to live a life of their ideal truth. At this time, we have no idea when this world-wide calamity will conclude, and there is no way to predict when non-emergency surgeries will resume reasonably. For those who have struggled with gender dysphoria for any length of time, the reality of canceling the operation that can help them rectify that dissonance is the equivalent of extending a prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
The implications of this can and are leading to massive depression, despair, and hopelessness. The LGBTQI community is already so vulnerable to these negative side effects due to outside circumstances-prejudice, abandonment, exclusion. Marry all those emotional timebombs, and seemingly rip away all hope of rectification, and the future looks bleak. Experts have been saying for years that such emotional distress leads to physical manifestations such as chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, sleep disturbances, psychomotor activity changes, and appetite changes.
In other words, at a time when we should all be striving for optimum health to combat infection of COVID-19, no one can afford to be weakened further from emotional instability.
I am not going to lie and say the news isn’t bleak right now. As I mentioned in a previous blog, we are being told that the methods we usually fall back on for comfort, namely friendship and family and the benefits of a warm hug, are the very things that can invite a deadly virus to kill us. We can’t give in to this, though. People outside the community will have trouble understanding how devastating this indeterminate holding pattern can be on a transitioning person, and that alone can be infuriating.
Going back to the prison analogy, what if you were found guilty of a crime you didn’t commit, sentenced to prison, only to have the case reopened, innocence proclaimed by the court, but someone lost the paperwork to get you out of jail. Who knows when they will find it, and despite everyone frantically searching for that all-important paperwork, they CAN NOT set you free without it?! Maddening.
Can we take comfort in knowing that many in the community are suffering from the same grief? That seems like a platitude, right? So many of us that suffer from depression tend to retreat from the world when a downturn hits, ducking phone calls and sleeping the day away, praying for the end of whatever it is that has spun us out. This is precisely the opposite of what you should be doing to bolster yourself through this crisis, particularly if you want to remain healthy enough to have that procedure eventually. Others are suffering just as you are, and it does help to share your thoughts, resentments, fears, and dreams with your community.
Utilize the technology that is available to you to reach out. It makes me feel a bit better to do something for someone else, even if it’s just making a phone call or text, especially if I know exactly what they are going through. While we tend to be more cavalier about our well-being (hence the self-destructive drinking at 9 AM), if we hear about a friend doing the same, we are often moved to act on their behalf, which is excellent! Do that! Maybe by being a good friend to someone else, by ensuring they are okay, you can be reminded to do the same for yourself.