Post submitted by Jenna Raspanti, HRC Workplace Project Coordinator
On Thursday, December 12th, HRC participated in a Google+ Hangout with prominent transgender experts and advocates regarding the evolution of transgender health as well as ongoing challenges.
Folks were invited to tweet questions and comments with hashtag #GreatChallenges to be addressed live during the discussion.
Facilitating the forum was Nina Martin, a reporter and editor who covers gender and sexuality issues and has specialized in legal and health issues for more than 30 years.
Joining Martin as guest speakers and answering questions were Kellan Baker, Associate Director of the LGBT Research and Communications at the Center for American Progress; Dana Beyer, Board Chair of Freedom to Work and Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland; Anand Kalra, Program Manager for Project HEALTH at Transgender Law Center; Dr. Marci Bowers, pioneer surgeon in the field of gender reassignment surgery; and Deena Fidas, HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program Director.
Fidas spoke about the significant progress corporate America has made in recent years since 2011 when the Corporate Equality Index scorecard was revised to hold major businesses accountable for full transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage up to a market standard for their transgender employees and dependents.
Today, based on the 2014 Corporate Equality Index report, 340 major businesses offer at least one transgender-inclusive healthcare insurance plan, amounting to 28% of all Fortune 500 companies. Given only 49 major businesses offered this inclusive insurance option in 2009, corporate America has come a long way.
Despite progress, the HRC Foundation’s work is far from over as there continue to be challenges to cultural competency among insurance providers. Fidas spoke to HRC’s ongoing commitment to working with insurance carriers to create a new market standard that provides coverage for other commonly excluded medically necessary procedures like facial feminization or masculinization, electrolysis, or tracheal shave, as outlined by the WPATH Standards of Care.
Dana Beyer concluded the thought-provoking and interesting discussion with a reminder of the importance of transgender individuals continuing to come out and tell their stories in their businesses, homes, neighborhoods, and communities in helping strengthen the message of equality and inclusion for all.
For more information on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, visit www.hrc.org/cei