Google has announced that it will increase the budget for transgender related healthcare benefits from $35,000 to $75,000.
The policy will cover a broad range of transgender surgeries and treatments including facial feminization surgery and pectoral implants for men. Google has been a progressive company in the past on LGBT issues, with action including submitting a brief against the Defense of Marriage Act, and posting about Transgender Day of Remembrance as far back as 2008.
Human Rights Campaign has a list of companies offering transgender health benefits, although it’s a rapidly changing list. Like same sex partner benefits, this is only going to be beneficial to the companies in the end. There are brilliant transgender software engineers, doctors, and writers, just like there are brilliant cisgendered software engineers, doctors, and writers. The companies that offer the transgender health benefits are going to have transgender people more eager to work for their company, and I’m willing to bet that the benefit will outweigh the costs.
A transgender woman was approached on busy Valencia street on Monday night by a man who threatened to kill her several times because she was transgender.
The victim received only minor injuries because she was able to use mace to fend off the attacker.
And to make a bad situation worse, an article describing the incident in the San Jose Mercury News refers several times to the victim as a man, when the victim identified as a woman. It can’t be said enough journalists: pronouns are incredibly important if you care at all about transgender sensitivity. Seriously.
I walk Valencia Street nearly every day and it is frequented by many people in the LGBT community. Transphobia exists everywhere – even in the queerest neighborhoods in the queerest city in the U.S.
UPDATE: According to the Bay Area Reporter the attacker was arrested and has now been released. He is apparently a transient (not surprising in this part of town), and the DA’s office says that the case has “been discharged for further investigation”.
California Jerry Brown has signed two bills that strengthen transgender rights in California. The Transgender Law Center has the details. One bill will make it easier for transgendered people to change their birth certificates, following the Obama Administration’s example regarding gender changes on Passport’s. The second bill will strengthen California’s non-discrimination laws by adding “gender identity and expression” as a protected status under California law.
I’m especially excited about the employment discrimination action. Employment is the biggest obstacle facing the trans community, and this bill is a step in the right direction.