‘The volume has been turned up on everything’: Pandemic places alarming pressure on transgender mental health


The surgery was supposed to be a turning point. Brenda Emery spent a year preparing for the vaginoplasty. To save up for it, she took jobs in food service straight out of college and moved in with her mother. She talked at length to therapists and medical experts to make sure the procedure to modify her lower body was what she really wanted as a transgender woman. After the surgery, Emery hoped, she would be fully comfortable in her own body. Finally, she could pursue dreams of working in local theaters that had been put on hold to save money. So this March, she quit her restaurant job and prepared to travel from her home in the Maryland suburbs to New York for the procedure. Then came the novel coronavirus, halting all non-emergency surgeries. “I just felt numb. I didn’t know how to process it,” Emery, 26, said.

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