by Elizabeth S. Q. Goodman, third-year graduate student in Mathematics
On a typically beautiful Sunday in San Francisco, at the annual Pride parade of June 24, I joined SF Pride at Work for the second of two protests. We had one focus: to demand that Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare insurer that has been certified LGBT-friendly by the Human Rights Campaign, remove certain exclusions from its healthcare plan.
It is very hard to say what effect a protest has, but this should be only part of a conversation healthcare companies need to have about their care of transgender patients. SF Pride at Work chose to target Kaiser because we have reason to hope that they may change their plans. The Human Rights Campaign endorsed Kaiser Permanente for LGBT patients, in 2010, but an endorsement from the HRC is not one trans people can trust. Kaiser does make efforts to support LGBT patients, and there are people within Kaiser who would like to remove the exclusions against transgender people (which fall particularly on transsexual people). Indeed, there were people on the float and among the Kaiser marchers who were glad of this protest, and who were having conversations about it as they walked. Kaiser needs to cover the sex reassignment surgery and “related” care that many transsexual people undergo; if it does not, then it is not truly an LGBT-friendly healthcare provider. Continue reading