A 21-year-old foster child received a sex change operation paid for by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services.
The woman, whose name was not released, was covered under a city policy that pays for gender reassignment surgery if the person has no insurance.
The patient underwent a procedure to become a woman in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
ACS reportedly approved her surgery before she turned 21, the age at which most people leave the foster system.
She is now the second person to receive gender reassignment under the coverage since it was put in place in 2010. The procedure cost about $10,000, according to child psychiatrist Dr. Aron Janssen, head of the gender and sexuality service at NYU Langone Medical Center.
ACS said in a statement that it promotes “the health and well-being of all young people” in the agency’s care.
“ACS reviews all requests for medical treatment on a case-by-case basis, conducting internal reviews as well as consulting medical professionals’ expertise, to ascertain the nature and severity of a medical condition and determine if a procedure will provide a significant benefit to a youth,” the agency said in a statement.
Dr. Janssen said the procedure is a life-saving surgery.
“It’s not a cosmetic procedure,” he said. “It’s treatment.”
Mariah Lopez, an activist with Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical Reform, told the New York Daily News that the woman will “inspire others.”
“What’s happening now is a shift by ACS, in the largest city in the world, influencing health care nationally,” Lopez said.