News & Commentary written by Shon Thomas

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Shon Thomas


Shon is a Black transgender woman from Riverdale, GA, who is 45 years old. She has been permanently disabled since 2010 and receives health insurance coverage through Georgia Medicaid which has denied her medically necessary care because she is transgender.

At age 17, Shon began to socially transition. She was physically and verbally abused at home and left at age 18. Because she lacked health insurance for much of her life, Shon used off-market hormones and silicone injections to affirm her gender. Her lack of insurance combined with a fear of discrimination and a lack of competent health care provides meant that she avoided other forms of licensed health care during this time.

Since approved for Medicaid in 2014, Shon has been able to access non-surgical gender affirming care as well as other health care. In 2019, Shon and her health care provider determined that gender-affirming surgical procedures were medically necessary. Shon made arrangements for a procedure and 6 days before the surgery it was cancelled because Georgia Medicaid decided to ignore the recommendations of medical professionals and say the surgery was not medically necessary.

Shon has sued the state of Georgia so she and other transgender Georgians on Medicaid can access a full range of gender-affirming care.