Thursday, 20 February 2014

CVZ's Response To Intersex Discrimination Case

The discrimination case I have running at the Dutch Human Rights Institute (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) since last year against my former health insurance company Unive is an odd one. Before I had it taken over by the institute it seemed fairly simple, in that the position of Unive was that full coverage for permanent hair removal by intersex people was not possible at all, whereas for transsexual people it was totally covered. The excuse from Unive being that they are two medically completely different situations.

In the first case I started against Unive, at the SKGZ, the opinion of the central organization for healthcare insurance companies, CVZ, was asked for the first time. Reading back their original conclusion from 7 September 2012 it can be summarized as follows: they never suggest or state explicitly that they distinguish between transsexual and intersex individuals in the coverage of permanent (facial) hair removal. They state that the medical evidence provided is insufficient at that point to say that I'm a hermaphrodite or intersex. They agree that there is no sign of transsexuality. Note that at this point I have had my official gender changed already (March 2012) due to medical evidence of me being a hermaphrodite, considered to be sufficient by the judge, who even went so far as to more liberally interpret the law in question due to my female side not being visible externally.

With the response from the Dutch Minster of Health (see earlier blog post) essentially indicating that they never considered intersex individuals in any way, form or shape. Thus saying that the law which enables full coverage for certain therapies in the case of for example transsexuals can not be guaranteed to also apply to intersex individuals. They simply never spent a single thought on the matter.

The pattern we thus see here is one where things start off benign; with a clueless collection of civil servants and ministers putting a law together without considering the full scope due to having bad medical advisors from the looks of it. The resulting neutrally phrased law is then passed on to CVZ which isn't making any definite statements when you read into their words, thus not limiting or setting the scope. Finally the health insurance company who has to implement sees this lack of scope as an opportunity to limit it for as much as they can and meanwhile end up blaming CVZ for 'making them do it'. During the hearing at the Human Rights Institute in Utrecht last year it was literally the Unive representative repeating himself, saying every time that they were just following the interpretation from CVZ.

Recently I received the response from CVZ to the questions asked by the Insitute after another long delay much like that for the Minister of Health. In it they basically state that intersex and hermaphroditism do most definitely contain cases which are comparable to those in transsexuality whereby full coverage of hair removal therapy is provided, as pointed out in their 2008 statement as listed on the website. They repeat that the only reason why they didn't indicate me for full coverage in 2012 was because they could not assign the diagnosis 'hermaphrodite' to me. This again despite the recognition of me as such by the Dutch legal system.

The conclusions one can draw from this whole is that a) Unive lied when they said that they were just following CVZ's interpretation and b) that the refusal by medical and insuring Netherlands to recognize me as being intersex seems to be once again at the center at this issue. Or to put it differently, of fundamental discrimination against intersex individuals within the insurance and medical world in the Netherlands. I have legitimate proof of me being intersex and a hermaphrodite, which according to CVZ would have been enough to qualify me for full coverage. I did have said evidence back in March 2012 already. There was no reason to deny my request.

Instead Unive lied and CVZ ignored a recent court ruling while the Dutch Health Minister looks like a foolish knave, wholly unaware of the real world with its real people.

With this last response it is now up the Human Rights Institute to decide on the next step. Whether there will be another hearing, another evidence gathering round or something else I do not know. I will just patiently await their judgement as I hope that some justice can still be served in the Netherlands.


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