Ending Trans Exclusions: The Path To Inclusive Healthcare

June 18, 2014

Many of the existing inclusions for LGB—and particularly—T people have been hard won over the last 20 years. On Monday, June 16,  four major organizations met to take stock of the history and trajectory for LGBT inclusions in healthcare.

On the open community call, “With Medicare Done: How We Can Win the Rest,” NCTE’s Mara Keisling moderated the discussion among Jennifer Levi, Director of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Andrew Cray, Policy Analyst for LGBT Progress with Center for American Progress (CAP), and Beck Bailey, Deputy Director of the Workplace Project with Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

The discussion opened with a summary of the recent widespread progress, including the Obama administration’s announcement yesterday of his intention to issue an executive order to protect LGBT people employed by federal contractors and the Medicare decision issued 12 days ago.

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Victory! Federal Government Modernizes Health Insurance

June 13, 2014

The federal government will begin letting insurance companies who have Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plans consider trans health care needs just like other types of medical care.  They will no longer require the insurance carriers to have a blanket exclusion for trans-related care. This is a significant win for trans federal employees who have long faced discrimination from the FEHB plans.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “Fixing the FEHB plans have been a priority for us for years.  First of all, it was a priority because transgender federal employees need healthcare, but also, this was one of the few remaining areas where the federal government was the actual discriminator, giving trans employees lesser benefits than non-trans employees. “

NCTE commends the Obama Administration and especially the Office of Personnel Management for taking this major step toward modernizing the health benefits to provide needed medical treatments. Though this new policy allows insurance companies to drop the exclusion, they are not yet required to do so; NCTE urges OPM to, with next year’s insurance process, to require all insurance companies to drop the exclusion.

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Hillary Clinton Talks About Transgender Rights on NPR’s “Fresh Air”

June 12, 2014

In a wide-ranging interview today, Fresh Air host Terry Gross asked Hillary Clinton about her work protecting transgender people while she was the Secretary of State. The U.S. State Department has been instrumental in addressing transgender human rights abroad while also ensuring transgender Americans can update the gender on their passports.

19th International AIDS Conference Convenes In Washington

Responding to Terry Gross’ question on addressing transgender equality, Clinton said:

“It was part of the overall efforts to try to treat people with dignity and equality. And certainly the Obama Administration made some of its own moves at the same time with respect to the larger federal employee pool. And when I had responsibility for the well-being of the 70,00 people or so employees around the world who worked for the State Department and USAID, I had the opportunity through executive action to recognize that there were barriers and vestiges to discrimination that had no place in a modern American workplace, and so I acted.”

Listen to the segment of the interview below.

Listen to the full Fresh Air interview here.


NCTE Director of Policy to keynote Philly Trans Health Conference

June 12, 2014

This Friday, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin will give the keynote address at the 2014 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC), the nation’s largest transgender conference drawing over 3,000 diverse members of the community. Author Janet Mock will also be featured as a keynote speaker.

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Tobin’s speech lays out a bold vision for the future of the transgender movement including outlining new ways of thinking about how to advance legislative victories at the federal, state, and local levels, improve institutions like prisons and nursing homes, healthcare, and expand access to identity documents. Tobin also proposes a path forward on how the transgender movement can lift up the most vulnerable members of the transgender community.

Tune in to Harper Jean Tobin’s keynote address on Friday, June 13, 2014 at 1:00 PM in room 108A.

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New Report: Transgender People Face High Levels of Violence

June 10, 2014

On May 29th, 2014, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released their National Report on Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities. The report, drawing on data from 14 anti-violence programs in 13 states and Puerto Rico, found that the frequency of incidents of hate violence remained constant from 2012 to 2013, with 2,001 reported incidents in 2013. However, the severity of incidents increased significantly, with a 21% increase in reports of physical hate violence.

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Transgender people, and especially transgender women of color, were found by the report to be among the groups most at risk for severe violence. According to the report, almost 90% of all homicide victims in 2013 were people of color, the overwhelming majority of whom (78% of the total) were Black or African American. Almost three-quarters of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds of homicide victims were transgender women of color, despite transgender individuals constituting only 13% of total reports to NCAVP.

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Seven UN Agencies: Surgery as a Condition of Legal Recognition is Forced Sterilization

June 6, 2014

WHO Report CoverIn “Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization – An interagency statement,” the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other UN agencies have recognized that sterilization without the “full, free and informed consent” of an individual is a violation of that person’s human rights.

The UN Health (WHO), Human Rights (OHCHR), Women’s (UN Women), Development (UNDP), Population (UNFPA), Children’s (UNICEF), and AIDS (UNAIDS) agencies issuing the statement recognized that transgender people have been historically, and are currently, discriminated against through policies requiring surgery, often resulting in sterilization, in order to obtain legal documents reflecting their gender identity and other forms of legal and social recognition. As the statement observes, “According to international and regional human rights bodies and some constitutional courts, and as reflected in recent legal changes in several countries, these sterilization requirements run counter to respect for bodily integrity, self-determination and human dignity, and can cause and perpetuate discrimination against transgender and intersex persons.”

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BREAKING NEWS: New York State Modernizes Requirements for Birth Certificate Gender Markers

June 5, 2014

The New York State Department of Health, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, just announced it has modernized its policy regarding updating gender markers on birth certificates. New York joins several other states, as well as the federal government, in modernizing birth certificate policies and removing burdensome and unnecessary barriers so that individuals can obtain a birth certificate that reflects who they are. Department-of-health-logo Many New York-based organizations have been advocating for an updated policy over the last several years and NCTE is proud to have participated in these advocacy efforts. New York State’s previous policy, in place since the 1970s, required an individual to undergo sexual reassignment surgery as a condition to change the sex listed on their birth certificate. Now, the policy change allows individuals to update the sex on their birth certificate by submitting a letter from a licensed medical provider stating that the individual is undergoing appropriate clinical treatment. Read the rest of this entry »


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