I'm dialed into a "listening" call w/Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs at OMB regarding HHS draft final rule titled Nondiscrimination in Health & Health Education Programs or Activities
You'd think this rule is about nondiscrimination, right? Oh you sweet summer child 1/
In fact, this rule would roll back an Obama-admin-era rule stating, among other things, that docs and nurses cannot discriminate against transgender people when providing care. The folks required to listen to my comments are not allowed to comment on what I say.
When I requested a meeting, which anyone can do, they asked me if I would be willing to share my 30 minutes with others, because they'd had so many meeting requests. So I guess at least there's a lot of interest. 3/
As it turned out, I was the only one who showed.
Y'all I did my best.
I told them a few things about myself:
1. I am proud to be the 1st person in my family tree born in America
2. When my parents arrived here shortly before I was born, my mom's English was quite limited. 4/
3. I am not trans and don't have a family member that I know of who is trans.
4. I'm a Christian.
5. I'm so sad about this proposed rule change.

So then I just talked. Maybe talked myself in circles. Told them about my doc and nurse friends who are horrified at the idea that any healthcare professional would want an "out" to turn someone away, or refuse to help them understand something in their native language.
I told them about trans friends who already face discrimination in health care. And cases like that of Robert Eads, a trans man in Georgia who was denied care for ovarian cancer by dozens of providers. Those denials literally killed him. 7/ https://transequality.org/blog/robert-eads
I talked about how the American dream is supposed to be for everyone to have the same opportunities, and everyone to be treated with dignity, whether we understand walking in their shoes or not.
Then I said that trying to do this in a pandemic - a time when we are more keenly aware than ever that our health is tied up with each other's health - makes it all the more disturbing and sad. I mean y'all, what are we DOING
Anyway, the folks whose job it is to listen aren't allowed to comment. But I'll say this: they told me that I was speaking with more candor than they typically hear, because it tends to be people speaking on behalf of institutions that request these meetings. SO...
...it's just a useful reminder (to myself) that while it's a lot of red tape, there are ways to speak to our government - federal, state, local, and we should avail ourselves of them whenever we can. It won't often change things, but that doesn't make it not worth it. 11/
There are lots of ways to do that. You can do it via your profession, when it intersects with an issue you care about - like the more than 1,000 medical & mental health providers who signed this letter 12/ https://twitter.com/TransEquality/status/1266459409225564161?s=20
You can follow orgs that talk about issues you care about & ask how you can be heard.
You can go to city council & school board mtgs.
You really ought to know who represents you in your state legislature - save their # into your phone 13/ https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
You don't have to do EVERYTHING - I get how overwhelming [gestures at...everything] can be. Just do 1 thing, once. AND! You don't have to be polished, or a policy expert. Bureaucrats & legislators are people, too. It's ok to sound like YOU.
Ok, be well and love u #
You can follow @jessicashortall.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: