Six years ago, the 17 year old Marcelas Owens became famous as the “Obamacare kid“, after advocating the Affordable Care Act at a White House ceremony, following the death of her mother. Now the teenager came out as transgender. CNN reports that Marcelas, though born male, now identifies as a female. As part of her transition, she is considering hormone therapy. Although Obamacare prohibits denying coverage to transgender people on the basis of identity, providers are not required to cover transition-related care.
“I like it that I can be called the Obamacare kid, but in some ways I wish I could look past the Obamacare kid and become Marcelas and people would have the same reaction to me that they had with the Obamacare kid,” she told CNN.
The Seattle-based teen lives with her two younger sisters, Myanna, 12, and Monique, 13, and their grandmother Gina Owens, the first person she told about being transgender. Marcelas has lived with her grandmother and sisters since their mother Tiffany died at age 27. Marcelas’ mother died because she didn’t have health insurance. After she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2006, her illness caused her to miss days at work, which led to her losing her job. She was then denied medical care, because she had earned too much money working the previous year.
Owens, who said she “didn’t like the idea” of Marcelas being trans at first, has definitely come around. In a Facebook post last week, she wrote a moving birthday wish to her firstborn grandbaby:
“On this day you were born to the world as your mother’s 1st child. You are 17 now, and have in so, so many ways, made your mom & me very proud. We both have watched you grow & become the person you are today.”