New proposed electrology rules in Oregon seek to lower barriers to becoming an electrologist, to reduce the waiting time of up to two years for hair removal for transgender individuals seeking sex reassignment surgery.
There are about 78 licensed electricians in Oregon, and there are no electrician schools currently accepting new students.
The new rules will allow for a new path to licensing through a 600-hour electrology training program at any licensed body arts facility. Interns will obtain a temporary license while working directly under the supervision of an approved supervisor.
The rules will also make it easier for individuals licensed in other states to obtain an electrician’s license in Oregon.
Transgender individuals seeking sex reassignment surgery usually first get hair removal prior to surgical procedures. But there is a one- to two-year waiting period for such electrolysis in Oregon due to a lack of providers, according to the proposal document.
said Seth Johnston, director of the transgender justice program at the health care advocacy organization Basic Oregon Rights.
In early 2022, Oregon Basic Rights, as well as electrologists and individuals seeking sex reassignment surgery, asked the Health Licensing Office and the Council of Electroscientists and Body Art Practitioners to find ways to reduce barriers to access to electrolysis.
An interim order was issued in April 2022 allowing electricians licensed in other states to practice in Oregon if the licensing exam they took is comparable to Oregon.
A session was held on Wednesday for public comment on the proposed new rules.
Several existing providers attended, and some said there should be strict guidelines on qualifications to become a supervisor for the proposed training programme.
One current electrician has suggested that supervisors have at least five years of post-licensing work experience. She was concerned that rushing into this program “robs the integrity of the profession”.
Anyone wishing to provide comment on the new proposed rules can do so by noon on January 28 by emailing Samie Patnode at email@example.com or by mailing at Attn: Samie Patnode Health Licensing Office , 1430 Tandem Ave. NE, Suite 180, Salem, OR 97301-2192
Johnston said that for many transgender people, having sex reassignment surgery is part of the care they need to affirm their sense of self and increase their sense of security.
“Leaving your home and not being able to look like a thoroughbred puts you at risk,” Johnston said.
Without hair removal before sex reassignment surgery, people can experience complications including infection and pain, so electrolysis is usually the first step. Some trans and non-binary people also seek electrolysis for facial hair removal, which is another form of gender-positive healthcare.
About 80% of BD males in Oregon want hair removal services, according to a 2021 survey by Basic Rights Oregon. About 43% of people using private insurance received these services at the time of the survey, while 22% of those using Medicaid received services.
Kate Kaufman, owner of Brave Space, a transgender and non-binary resource center and advocacy founder, said many clients who receive counseling talk about the stress of barriers to accessing hair removal. Not being able to access this care can increase anxiety and gender dysphoria in a gender diverse individual, Kaufman said.
“It’s a poor use of mental health funding to address physical health care issues,” Kaufman said. “The best application of this funding in the right pathway to treat gender dysphoria will save health insurers money in the long run.”
Sidney White covers health care inequality in the Mid Willamette Valley for the Statesman Journal. Send her comments, questions and tips atSWyatt@gannett.comor (503) 399-6613 or on Twitter@sydney_elise44
The Statesman Journal’s coverage of health care inequality is funded in part byMJ Murdock Charitable Fundwhich seeks to strengthen the cultural, social, educational, and spiritual base of the Pacific Northwest through capacity-building investments in the nonprofit sector.