Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell 
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Archive for October, 2011

Oct 13 2011

Healthcare inclusion for City of Seattle transgender employees

On October 7, it was announced that healthcare exclusions for City of Seattle transgender employees are being lifted. I drafted and submitted a memorandum to the City’s Health Care Committee (HC2) encouraging their consideration of removing healthcare exclusions for City of Seattle transgender employees. Also signing on to the letter were Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen. Beginning January 1, 2012, transgender medical procedures will be included in all City of Seattle healthcare plans.

I am so pleased to see our policies reflect our values; our value that we will not discriminate based on one’s sexual identity. I was pleased to work with our City’s five Civil Rights Commissions, in particular, the LGBT Commission, to help ensure that our transgender employees can now get the coverage they need. Our City’s healthcare plans will now include treatments, medications and services for gender affirming surgeries and procedures.

Current data shows 39 percent of Fortune 500 companies include transgender healthcare procedures in their healthcare plans, compared to only 1 percent in 2004. Seattle is proud to join San Francisco and Portland, Oregon with this inclusion for transgender employees.

Without this inclusion, those identified as transgender are often denied other basic medical and psychological care. By including transgender medical procedures in our City’s healthcare plans, we show our commitment to social justice, fairness and the needs of all City employees.

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