lorenstoryLoren Cannon is in great health, having recently completed the famous Escape From Alcatraz triathlon. Unfortunately, his insurance plan provided by California State University, denied his requests to cover hormone therapy and a hysterectomy. That’s when he called Transgender Law Center.

“Even though I am lucky enough to be able to afford to pay for my hormones out of pocket, it didn’t seem right, and I wanted to make sure others got the coverage they needed,” he said. “I wanted to set a precedent.”

Transgender Law Center worked with Loren and his doctor to clarify to the insurance company that this care was indeed medically necessary, despite the insurance company’s transgender exclusions. Sideby- side with Cannon, TLC navigated the system and helped Cannon ensure all his “ducks were in a row.” Last summer Cannon finally got the insurance coverage he deserved, setting in motion an important precedent indeed.

Cannon is thrilled that California recently directed all state-regulated health insurers to remove transgender exclusions. “When you have to go about everything yourself, piecemeal, it often means the people with the most privilege benefit because they are able to spend the time and work on letters with the right language and such. That’s why it’s so important that the directive happened–it will help the insurance companies know their responsibility to their
transgender patients.”

Cannon is a trailblazing supporter of Transgender Law Center. He grew up in Colorado and earned his PhD in Philosophy at Arizona State University where he later taught and transitioned on the job. “It’s important to separate the people of Arizona from the politics going on there,” he said noting a recent round of anti-transgender legislation.*

Today Cannon lives with his wife in Humboldt County, California where he teaches Ethics and Trans Theory. He was also an active member of a Health Council started by Transgender Law Center’s Project HEALTH. Last year, Cannon and his fellow Council members successfully worked with the community to open a weekly transgender health clinic. “TLC has been so helpful to the trans community in Humboldt in a variety of ways. It can be really isolating up here.” Cannon’s wife is also a speaker and activist, traveling throughout the country to advance social justice causes.

*When this article was authored, an Arizona lawmaker had recently proposed a bill that would allow businesses to deny restroom entry to anyone suspected of being transgender, and impose jail time on transgender people who violated the requests of the business. It quickly became known as the “bathroom bill.” Transgender Law Center worked with local advocates to help shift the media narrative from mean-spirited attacks on transgender people to more personalized stories about the daily significance non-discrimination laws have in transgender people’s lives. The bill was then revised to void any local nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people. The bill did not survive amidst legislators’ focus on budget issues in 2013, but we remain vigilant for future efforts

This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Lives interactive magazine. Click here to download it! (.pdf)