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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 18 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 29
Transgender activist responsible for changing Northeastern University's health care program needs help
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Transgender activist responsible for changing Northeastern University's health care program needs help

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Kyle Rapinan, human rights activist and law student, recently reached out to the public to ask for help for Rapinan's friend, Transgender activist DJ Jones.

Rapinan and another friend, Hannah Adams, created a fundraising page on YouCaring.com called Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Trans Activist DJ Jones (http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/gender-affirming-healthcare-for-trans-activist-dj-jones/195776). So far, the team has raised nearly $1,500 of their $5,000 goal. There are just 22 days left in the campaign.

'Everyone deserves health care, self-determination, freedom of choice, and bodily autonomy,' Rapinan and Adams say in the information provided on the fundraising page. 'Whether it is reproductive services, gender-affirming medical care, or any other service, health care should not be denied to anyone due to their gender identity, race, income level, immigration status, current or former incarceration, or for any other reason. When people are denied these essentials, we, as a community, need to support them.'

According to their friends, DJ is a mixed race Trans and gender queer law student, activist, and organizer seeking public support. According to Rapinan, DJ was recently denied medical care due to an 'outrageous act of insurance discrimination by Northeastern University and its student health plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.'

'Their (DJ's preferred pronoun is They/Their) friends are seeking money from the community and any assistance due to the fact that without insurance coverage, DJ has no way to pay for these essential medical services.'

Rapinan says that after years of carefully preparing, a few months ago, DJ scheduled the gender-affirming procedure. Sixteen hours before the procedure, after traveling across the country, DJ was forwarded a fax that denied pre-authorization for the procedure.

'The fax made it clear that the last-minute denial was due to a Transphobic and discriminatory clause in their student insurance policy that excludes coverage for all transition-related healthcare,' said Rapinan. 'The doctor, following the insurance determination, cancelled the procedure, and DJ was left with no way to obtain this care. Ironically, Northeastern is amending the policy to remove the Trans health exclusion due in large part to organizing led by DJ. But this change will be effective September 1, and DJ graduates and loses their coverage in August.'

'For DJ's well-being, gender affirming medical care is extremely important,' say Rapinan and Adams. 'We aim to raise $5,000 so that DJ can pay for the procedure despite the discriminatory insurance denial. Please consider making a donation to support this amazing friend and activist who has pursued a lifetime of social justice work and movement building.'

'Please know that DJ believes everyone deserves health care, and they are also committed to the movement for trans liberation and health care for all,' said the fundraisers. 'This act of health insurance discrimination is part of a much larger system of oppression against Trans people and all marginalized communities. DJ is committed to supporting, organizing, and advocating for racial, economic, and social justice. Over the past several years they have worked for prisoners' rights, LGBT rights, and trans rights organizations, and have volunteered regularly with an organization supporting and building community with LGBTQ prisoners. They strongly believe in the work of prison abolition, migrant justice, dis/ability justice, Trans/Queer liberation, and reproductive justice movements.'

'Getting this procedure will allow them to bring their full energy and passion to this work,' they conclude.

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