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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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