Your actions are being closely watched by members of the transgender community at the University of Michigan across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses who are experiencing the excruciating trauma of gender dysphoria which they cannot adequately treat, and the debilitating financial strain that results from unjust denial of coverage. Your actions are being closely watched by the friends and family of transgender people gravely worried that their loved ones will become simply a statistic in the national epidemic of trans suicides. Your actions are being closely watched by our numerous cisgender allies standing in solidarity with us, and by a rapidly growing number of medical professionals who affirm their patients' dire need for care, but are rendered powerless to provide it by discriminatory coverage plans.
Because of our role as the labor union of graduate workers at the University of Michigan, the recommendations that we have presented to you (cf. "Necessary Improvements to GradCare Coverage for the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria") are targeted specifically at GradCare, the coverage plan administered to graduate instructors. We are deeply concerned that representatives of University Benefits and HR may not have made you adequately aware of the widespread impact that your decision will directly bear on people’s lives, nor made you aware of the degree to which your decision is being watched and anticipated by the public.
This is not an abstract, academic debate occuring in a vacuum. Somewhere, today, on a health insurance plan you are about to shape, is a trans person who cannot afford vocal therapy for the voice they experience as disfigured. You will directly determine whether they will be able to experience a healthy social life. Somewhere, on one of the health plans you will shape, is a trans woman whose gendered facial dysphoria has driven her to self-harm and to the brink of suicide. You will have to decide whether or not you want her blood on your hands. The onus is on you to enable providers to uphold their Hippocratic oaths by rendering the care that they and their patients understand to be Medically Necessary. The cost to the institution is minimal, and attempting to cut costs at the expense of trans lives is morally reprehensible.
We are closely watching, we are gravely concerned, and we implore you to make the right choice come the end of your review.