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?
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.
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.
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."
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.