SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco is preparing to become the first U.S. city to provide and cover the cost of sex reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender residents.
The city’s Health Commission voted Tuesday to create a comprehensive program for treating transgender people experiencing mental distress because of the mismatch between their bodies and their gender identities. San Francisco already provides transgender residents with hormones, counseling and routine health services, but has stopped short of offering surgical interventions, Public Health Director Barbara Garcia said Thursday after the vote was announced.
The idea for a new program that included surgeries came out of conversations between public health officials and transgender rights advocates who wanted mastectomies, genital reconstructions and other surgeries that are recommended for some transgender people covered under San Francisco’s 5-year-old universal health care plan.
At the urging of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center, the commission agreed this week to drop sex reassignment surgery from the list of procedures specifically excluded from the Healthy San Francisco plan.