In response to news reports that an uninsured transgender woman in Colorado who found a lump in her breast was denied federally subsidized mammography because she is “not genetically female,” the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the Human Rights Campaign called on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to change its discriminatory guidelines.
“Excluding transgender women from a breast cancer screening program has no legitimate basis and flies in the face of accepted medical standards,” said Harper Jean Tobin, NCTE director of policy. “That is irrational discrimination, plain and simple. We hope and expect that the CDC will act swiftly to make clear that these programs must serve all women.”
“Breast cancer screenings save lives and should be available to all women, period,” said Shane Snowdon, director of the HRC Health & Aging Program. “This policy isn’t simply discriminatory, it’s dangerous, and we hope our leaders at the CDC will address it immediately.”
After being turned down for mammography by a federally funded program that provides free cancer screenings to low-income women, Blair scraped together enough money to pay for a mammogram. She was relieved to discover she does not have breast cancer, but her diagnosis came after a long period of fear and uncertainty. Hoping to spare other transgender woman what happened to her, Blair filed a complaint under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
NCTE and HRC sent a letter to the director of the CDC calling on the agency to revisit its policy of excluding transgender women from lifesaving cancer screenings, which is inconsistent with well-established administrative precedent and the strong federal commitment to ending health disparities resulting from lack of access to care.