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.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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When the "Me Too" movement exploded a few years ago, the ubiquitousness of women's sexual harassment and assault experiences became painfully clear. What hasn't always been as clear is role that less overt, more subtle creepiness plays in making women feel uncomfortable or unsafe as they move through the world, often starting from a young age.

Thankfully—and unfortunately—a viral video from a teen TikToker illustrates exactly what that looks like in real-time when a man came and sat down with her while she was doing a live video. He asked if the chair at her table was taken, and she said no, thinking he wanted to take it to another table. Instead, he sat down and started talking to her. You can see in her face and in her responses that she's weirded out, though she's trying not to appear rude or paranoid.

The teen said in a separate TikTok video that the man appeared to be in his 30s. Definitely too old to be pulling up a chair with someone so young who is sitting by herself, and definitely old enough to recognize that she was uncomfortable with the situation.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less