US: 74-year-old veteran is first to receive gender surgery on Medicare
A 74-year-old transgender Army veteran has become the first person to receive gender reassignment surgery on a government Medicare plan.
Denee Mallon, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had fought for a number of years to be allowed the surgery on the healthcare plan for the elderly – which banned ‘experimental’ surgery in the 1980s.
The ban remained in place until last year, when the Health board ruled that treatment could no longer be denied to elderly trans people.
Ms Mallon was first in line, and she underwent gender surgery in October.
She told NBC: “Here I am, finally, after all these years. It happened.
“I feel congruent, like I’m finally one complete human being where my body matches my innermost feelings, my psyche. I feel complete.
“I have a difficult time relating to somebody what it feels like to be me. One of the obvious things people will say is, ‘It’s a lifestyle choice. You’ve made this choice.’
“Well, it’s far deeper than that. It’s so a part of my basic psyche, there’s no escaping it. I’ve tried to be the kind of man that society wanted and my feminine self just kept creeping up.”
She added: “I lived what transsexuals call the stealth life, didn’t disclose the fact that I was originally male.
“And in 2012, I came out of stealth mode and started being more of an activist.”
Daughter Kelly Mallon-Salter said: “I’m so sad it took so long. But I’m so happy that she’s helping others to have it.”
Watch the clip via NBC below: