Six years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark law that has made it possible for millions to obtain health care coverage, into law.
Standing next to President Obama that day was Marcelas Owens. A “miniature health care activist” at age 11, Owens was known as the “Obamacare kid.”
Last week, Marcelas, now 17, came out publicly as transgender.
"I'm going through a reinvention process," she told CNN. "I'm growing into adulthood. I'm not the Obamacare kid anymore."
Obamacare has made healthcare coverage more accessible, affordable and comprehensive for the transgender community. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination in healthcare on the basis of a number of protected classes, including sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, increasing access to vital services and care.
HRC was an ardent supporter of the ACA, ensuring that LGBT Americans had access to critical medical services.
Now that Marcelas has come out publicly as transgender, she hopes that she can share her passion and journey with others.
"I've been learning about self-love,” she wrote on Facebook. “Finding myself may equal losing those I was once close to, I continue to search. Closed minds equal closed hearts, I remain forever open.”
Coming out, whether as LGBT or allied, is a unique and individualized experience. For those people whose gender identity or innate sense of their own gender doesn’t match with the gender assigned at birth, unraveling and expressing it can be complex and difficult.
"The past is the past,” she wrote in a Facebook comment. “We gotta' make new memories so when we look back it will be worth looking back on. I actually like me in the present better anyway."
For more information about HRC’s efforts toward transgender equality, go to hrc.org/transgender.
Also check out HRC’s Transgender Visibility Guide here.