Transgender health care needs serious change. Netflix noticed and did something about it.

In August 2015, Netflix's brand new, generous paid parental leave policy swept headlines for all the right reasons.

Because every hardworking parent should be able to spend a year away from the office binge-watching their baby, amiright?


OK, bad joke. Sorry. GIF via "Orange Is the New Black."

But, now, Netflix is at it again, offering yet another progressive benefit to its employees: transgender-inclusive health insurance.

According to the Human Rights Campaign's [Corporate Equality Index](offers transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage.), the streaming media company made an ever-growing list of U.S. businesses offering transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage this year. That means (often very expensive) health provisions, such as gender confirmation surgery and hormone therapy, are now covered for employees, as Bloomberg reported.

Netflix founder and CEO, Reed Hastings. Photo by Ken Ishii/Getty Images.

It's a great thing, too. Because while some may argue trans-related care isn't that vital, I'd argue they're wrong: 78% of trans people report overall mental health improvements after receiving gender-confirming treatment. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress drop after they receive treatment, and suicide rates plummet, too.

The even better news? Netflix is just one of 82 companies that were added to the list of companies offering trans-related coverage this year.

Of the 781 firms surveyed by HRC, 418 cover transition-related health treatments — up from a measly 49 in 2009. Facebook and Tesla Motors joined the list this year, too.

Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

It's worth noting that just because a company offers coverage, it may not necessarily ensure access to care. If you're a worker who wants to have gender confirmation surgery, for instance, there may not be a surgeon in your insurance network who does the procedure — even if your employer technically covers it.

Still, the changing tide is a welcome one for LGBT advocates. Because trans-related health care shouldn't be a privilege only wealthy trans folk can take advantage of.

The medical community largely agrees: Trans-related health care isn't "cosmetic" — it's vital.

Several groups — like the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Public Health Association, and so many others — believe transition-related health care is essential (and so is putting "American" in their names, apparently).

Gender confirmation surgery is "not 'cosmetic' or 'elective' or for the mere convenience of the patient," the World Professional Association for Transgender Health points out. Such treatments "are understood to be medically necessary."

Photo by Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images.

Transgender people face bigger barriers accessing health care, too. They're far less likely to be covered, and 50% — seriously, half of trans patients — report having to explain trans care to their own medical provider, according to family nurse practitioner Ronica Mukerjee, who partnered with GLAAD for a video campaign in 2013.

We can do better than that. We have to do better than that.

So yes, we have a lot to improve on when it comes to trans health. But thanks to companies like Netflix and Facebook, the bar is getting higher for businesses' trans-inclusive policies.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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True
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

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Planet
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

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Innovation