Just in time for Brown University’s class of 2017, Brown students will now be required to pay for the sexual reassignment surgeries of their peers. Last Wednesday, the Brown Daily Herald reported that sex change operations will be added to the Brown Student Health Insurance Plan this August.
Kelly Garrett, Coordinator of Brown’s LGBTQ Center, along with various student groups such as GenderAction (part of the Queer Alliance), has been lobbying for this “important benefit.” According to the Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services at Brown, Jeanne Hebert, Brown’s mandatory insurance program will now include 14 different, “very comprehensive” sexual reassessment surgeries: “mastectomy, hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, scrotoplasty, urethroplasty, placement of testicular prostheses (and) phalioplasty, …. orchiectomy, penectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty (and) labiaplasty.” These surgeries, along with hormone therapy and other “treatments” that generally accompany the procedures, can cost as much as $50,000.
It is not clear how many students will take advantage of the subsidized genitalia replacement: according to Garrett, there are no statistics for how many transgender students attend Brown. This is likely due to “self-reporting” problems and the fact that some students are currently in the process of redefining their genders.