Kelley Winters

HRC Throws Trans Health Equity Under the Bus - Again

Filed By Kelley Winters | February 15, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Corporate Equality Index, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, transgender equality

This week, the Human Rights Campaign released its 2009 State of the Workplace report and Corporate Equality Index (CEI) ratings of large US employers for GLBT inclusive policies and practices.[1] Perfect 100% ratings were awarded to a record 260 major companies, up from 195 in 2008. In a press release from Workplace Project Manager Samir Luther, the HRC boasted that 175 of the Fortune-500 businesses and 60 of the Fortune-100 firms now have gender identity protection in their employment policies.[2] True enough, the CEI has been influential in encouraging inclusion of gender identity in equal opportunity policies at major employers. However, health benefit equity for transitioning and transitioned employees requiring hormonal or surgical transition care was a very different story in the 2009 index.

Despite years of objection by health advocates for the trans-community, the HRC continues to omit medically necessary transition care as a requirement for a perfect 100% CEI score. Employees who suffer distress with their physical sex characteristics or ascribed gender role (often termed gender dysphoria) are singled out by many employers for exclusion from coverage for corrective procedures that are not excluded for other employees. By rewarding these employers with 100% scores, the HRC perpetuates this discrimination.

For many trans-employees, the HRC Corporate Equality Index has itself become a major barrier to equality.

The HRC announcement painted a rosy picture of transition care benefits: "Removing discriminatory exclusions for medically necessary, transgender-specific treatment is a rapidly-emerging trend"[2] It noted that 18 of the Fortune 100 corporations now offer surgical coverage. But were gains among America's very largest corporations representative of employers surveyed in the 2009 CEI or of those given top ratings?

According to the Employer Database search tool on the HRC web site,[3] the total number of employers surveyed rose slightly to 11,403 from 11,369 last year. While companies given 100% scores rose 1/3, from 195 to 260, the number of 100% CEI employers who cover surgical transition procedures fell from 55 to 47. Firms with 100% scores who cover hormone benefits fell from 85 to 83, and those with top 100% scores who cover transition medical visits fell from 76 to 68. Most disturbing, the number of employers given 100% CEI scores who specifically exclude surgical transition care rose 65% since 2008 -- from 117 to 193. Clearly, the "rapidly emerging trend" is that access to transition care benefits is getting worse among a majority of employers awarded perfect scores by the HRC.

The problem lies in the selection criteria used by the HRC to award CEI scores. Health insurance access for transitioning individuals is only worth five points, and only one of five types of health benefits is required to score all five. They are listed as: "Counseling by a mental health professional; pharmacy benefits covering hormone therapy; medical visits to monitor the effects of hormone therapy and other associated lab procedures; medically necessary surgical procedures such as hysterectomy; or short-term disability leave for surgical procedures."[4] In sharp contrast, domestic partner benefits total 25 of 100 points in the CEI score. Three different types of domestic partner benefits (health insurance; COBRA, dental, vision and legal dependent coverage; plus at least three from a list of other benefits) must be offered by the employer to receive a perfect 100% score.

Consequently, employers have no incentive to offer hormonal or surgical coverage to transitioning employees, and companies who do offer medical transition benefits are not recognized or appreciated. This is in spite of a policy announcement by the American Medical Association last year calling for health insurance coverage of these treatments for what it termed "a serious medical condition" [5] The current CEI criteria send a clear message to employers that the health and lives of transitioning workers are not valued within the GLBT community.

The resulting barriers to health care extend far beyond medical transition itself. Health policy exclusions are often very broadly worded, with phrases such as:

"All expenses related to gender reassignment, including those related to complications arising from such services." [6]

And:

"[treatment] not appropriate based on the gender of the patient."

Thus, post-transition hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that is offered to all other employees may be denied to trans-employees strictly on the basis of their gender identity with consequential medical risk. Coverage for many conditions prevalent among birth-assigned females may be arbitrarily denied to trans-women, if the conditions may be constructed as "complications" of transition. The converse is true for transmen. Also, transmen and transwomen regardless of surgical status may be denied care under the second exclusionary statement, because they possess atypical physiology. For example, the tragic death of Mr. Robert Eads, a trans-man who was similarly refused treatment for ovarian cancer, is chronicled in the award-winning documentary, Southern Comfort. [7] Employers who deny medically necessary transition care, as well as equitable health benefits unrelated to transition, for transsexual employees are not merely rewarded by the HRC, they are held up as models of perfection.

Moreover, the Human Rights Campaign continues to reward, with 100% scores, employers who promote false stereotypes of mental illness for gender variant or transcendent workers. Corporations with discriminatory practices based on these stereotypes still remain eligible for perfect CEI scores. The current CEI criteria allow them to cover mental health counseling for the purpose of "changing" gender identity, discouraging transition or driving trans employees into the closet (known as gender-reparative therapies) and simultaneously deny all benefits for hormonal and surgical transition care.

Such benefit policies reinforce negative psychiatric stereotypes and contribute to a hostile workplace environment. For example, a transsexual woman at my own employer was demeaned and ridiculed as mentally disordered by her supervisor, who told her,

"I don't know why a 'man' would want to cross-dress. You know, the company will pay to fix this condition." [8]

She was terminated during her transition.

Again, there is no stipulation in the CEI selection criteria to suggest that mental health care coverage offered by a 100% company must actually be in support of transition or respectful to the affirmed gender identity of the employee. Of 260 total employers awarded perfect 100% CEI ratings in 2009, over half of them (138) simultaneously cover mental health counseling and deny all surgical benefits to transitioning employees.[9] This raises concern of a growing prevalence of the mental illness stereotype among executives awarded 100% scores by the HRC.

Equally disturbing, the HRC has announced that the CEI criteria will not be updated or corrected for 2010:

"...we will continue to use the rating system we have used since the 2006 Corporate Equality Index. We are committed to giving at least one year's notice for the rating system to change."[10]

Where is the commitment to trans-employees who are denied access to medically necessary care as a consequence of these broken criteria? Corporations who never deserved perfect CEI scores in prior years certainly do not deserve a free pass for another fraudulent perfect score in 2010. It seems unconscionable for the HRC to prolong the suffering of gender dysphoric employees and dependents for the purpose of rewarding health care discrimination.

Please join me in writing Joe Solmonese, Executive Director of the HRC,[11] to press the HRC to require fair access to hormonal and surgical transition care for a perfect 100% score in the 2010 Corporate Equality Index. I also urge you to contact the chief executives of the genuine 100% GLBT inclusive employers, listed below,[12] who already provide hormone and surgical transition care benefits without recognition by the HRC. Thank them for walking the walk, and give them your business and recommend them to friends and colleagues.

-----
[1] Human Rights Campaign, "Corporate Equality Index," 2009, http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/cei.htm

[3] Human Rights Campaign, "Employer Database," 2009, http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/search_start_advanced.asp

[4] Human Rights Campaign, "Corporate Equality Index: Current Rating Criteria (2006 - Present)." http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/cei_criteria.htm

[5] American Medical Association, "Resolution 122, Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients,"  http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/16/a08_hod_resolutions.pdf, June 2008.

[6] This language is used by my own employer, a Fortune 20 corporation, to deny coverage for all transition-related medical expenses in health plans administered by Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and BlueCross BlueShield.  It is representative of common language I have heard in employee and private health plans.

[7] Southern Comfort,  New Video Group, 2001. It may be viewed online at http://www.logoonline.com/shows/dyn/southern_comfort/videos.jhtml.

[8] GID Reform Advocates, Advocates' Statements, http://www.gidreform.org/advocate.html.

[9] Human Rights Campaign, "Employer Database," 2009, http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/search_start_advanced.asp This figure was derived by two searches using the Employer Database: 100% employers who cover transgender mental health counseling, and 100% employers who deny surgical care. 138 companies appeared on both lists.

[10] Human Rights Campaign, "Corporate Equality Index: How Can My Employer Participate in the 2010 Survey?" 2009, http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/cei_participate.htm

[11] Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., Washington, DC 20036-3278, http://www.hrc.org/

[12]Human Rights Campaign, "Employer Database," 2009, http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/search_start_advanced.asp Employers with 100% 2009 CEI ratings who offer health benefits for surgical transition procedures include: 3M Co; American Express Co; AT&T Inc;Cisco Systems Inc.; Coca-Cola Co; DuPont (E.I. du Pont de Nemours); Ford Motor Co.; General Motors Corp; Goldman Sachs Group Inc; International Business Machines Corp. (IBM); J.P. Morgan Chase & Co; Johnson & Johnson; Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.; Microsoft Corp; Morgan Stanley; State Farm Group; Walt Disney Co; Wells Fargo & Co.;


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steve tabarez | February 15, 2009 12:05 PM

Thanks so much for this post. Admittedly, as a gay male, I kno very little about the specific issues and barriers that the trans community face. And am trying to change that as we all should about one another. You've helped me a great deal. It is ironic that that the HRC begins with the letter H, for human. Their calculation methods kind of imply that they don't see Trans community as not? Not an indictment. Just a question. Thanks for enlightening me, today.

This behavior is not confined to non GLBT agencies. I worked for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and the we interviewed a woman who was transgender for a position. When others were out of the room, the director sitting in turned to me and said, "If she's gonna act like a woman, she should at least be pretty." Ironically, this woman, corpulent and self-indulgent, was no prize herself.

The question we have to ask as a community is why we continue to support HRC. I stopped my membership when I realized they only care about the actions the organization can take credit for. They are inaccessible to the poor and disenfranchised members of the gay community and even local events focus on venues affordable to the affluent.

HRC will only become non-viable if we stop supporting them. This means turning in memberships, not sending them money, and not writing about them. The less press they get, the less power they have--even press like this is useful to them.

We need to ask if the function they are performing is a production function useful to acceptance of GLBT people or more a ceremony to aggrandize few at the expense of many.

This whole idea that we need to "talk the language of the heterosexual community (as advocated by GLAAD) is silly. Acceptance can only come from being who we are. Anything less is disingenuous and will backfire when people realize that we are as we have been presented. Neither of these agencies effectively speak for me or any of the gay people I know, and they don't seem to care.

In short, it's not working. We need another model where we reach out and stop "fighting for our rights" and start living them en masse.

The whole fiasco in Florida, where a woman with a domestic partnership and a power of attorney, could not see her partner demonstrates clearly that "playing by the rules" is not working for anyone. We don't need to demand rights, we simply need to take them and form a new type of organization that includes anyone looking for acceptance. We will find more allies that way, especially in other disenfranchised communities.

This should really come as no surprise to anyone, as it fits perfectly with HRC's politics in general.

As a trans veteran of a company with CEI rating of 100%, I know that it certainly didn't prevent my harassment or eventual firing due to reasons I have good reason to believe were wrapped up in my being trans.

As with their political games, HRC doesn't include us in the CEI because they want to hold companies accountable for treating transgender employees fairly. We're included and the points offered are so easy to attain to provide companies with credit for doing right by trans employees without having to do much in order to earn it.

After all, you can be sure HRC has still got its hand out looking for those corporate donations, and if they made these companies actually earn these ratings by providing the benefits transpeople actually need, it could cut into those donations when some would fail the standard.

As always, donation money and influence on the issues of key importance to rich white gays is what these people really care about. After all, this isn't exactly a new issue. If they really cared enough to do something about it, they'd have done it by now.

It's just par for the course with HRC. Maybe it's time for another org or group of orgs to create a CEI of its own that actually works for everyone rather than just the monied few?

That's what you get when the two trans people majorly involved in the CEI quit in protest. Sigh. I was pondering that drop in trans inclusive health care myself. I don't remember if I got confirmation on it or not, but I know that earlier years of the CEI were flawed because they never asked for any kind of confirmation of health care -- a lot of corporations just said, "Of course we've got trans-inclusive health care" without knowing what that meant or actually checking. If they started getting confirmation this year, then it's not a reflection of a worsening of health care policies, but a better measure of reality.

Incidentally, they decided shift when they come out with the CEI. This 2009 version came out back in 2008. The 2010 version is going to come out in not too long. If changing the 2011 CEI is an option, that doesn't mean waiting a year and a half, that means waiting 6 months or so. I don't blame them for not wanting to change things this late in the game. But that doesn't absolve them for not wanting to change things six months ago, or a year ago, or however many years ago it was when these specific concerns first came up. Nor is it an excuse unless they are willing to change the 2011 version and do so now.

What evidence is there that the HRC will change it in 2011? Or 2012? Have they given a statement of intent?

No. No plans, and no chance. Not this year, not next year, and not the one after that. It's not on their agenda. It's not even a discussion point about maybe one year putting it on the agenda for implementation at some unspecified future time. They don't see the need.

When the American Medical Association is taking the lead, you know that there's a problem.

That's my point. It's a somewhat valid excuse if they are planning on changing the 2011 CEI. If they're not willing to begin changing it right now, however, then it's just a red herring meant to distract.

The first issue to take to them should be that full medical coverage should be required for full points. I just don't want to pick a fight with them over whether or not they should change it in 2010 or 2011 when they haven't agreed to change it. That just serves as a distraction, turning our concerns into a straw person demand that can more easily be dismissed.

meghan stabler | February 16, 2009 10:38 PM

The CEI is changing. I know because I have been working it.

I wish Kelly had called me to say this was going to be a posted note, as she had visited HRC DC with myself and Diego to talk with the HRC Workplace staff summer last year. We took note.

The announcement of the new CEI changes is late, I know, I am frustrated about that too. But changes will be announced in a matter of weeks, not months. The changes will be significant.

I posted this on Donna's blog a week ago:
"The criteria WILL be changing for the CEI. It is just a matter of weeks to get the final documentation and materials ready for public announcement. From a Transgender related set of criteria, it has been significantly enhanced and much more rigor been placed than prior versions. This will “raise the bar” significantly.

The Workplace team and myself have stayed true to the need to get the list of Transgender needs/requirements/coverage to the next level. This will force companies to change plans, to talk with the providers, to remove plan exclusions and to support medically necessary coverage for a transitioning employee. The current “must have one of five” to get a check mark on the CEI will be gone. We will also be providing information to employees to help understand the minimal costs associated with Transgender Healthcare / Surgery coverage so they don’t fear providing it."

I dont work for HRC, I am on the business council, but I am part of the CEI subcommittee and the only transgender member.

If you have questions in the mean time, find me on facebook and email me. If you want to email me ask for my email via Mara or Donna or Kelly.

Meghan

Yes, I do have a comment and a question. All the talk is of covering the transitioning employee. Non-transitioning employees have transitioning dependents...what about them?

Transgender youth need appropriate medical care to ensure their survival. Is anyone asking these questions?

Kim Pearson
Executive Director
TransYouth Family Allies

Excellent point, Kim. Everywhere in this thread that I've said "employees," I meant to say "employees and covered dependents." Under the current CEI criteria, employers who only cover gender-reparative or aversion psychotherapies and exclude all hormonal and medical transition coverage for dependent youth may still be awarded a perfect 100% score. I agree that this policy puts the survival of transitioning youth at risk. Equally tragic, this policy sends a public message that it's perfectly "100%" OK to do so.

Meghan Stabler | February 17, 2009 5:20 PM

Hi Kim,

I know your birthday is coming up so first a VERY Happy Birthday to you.

With the new CEI we are focused on removing discrimination from the insurance plan contracts themselves, which affects all transgender people covered by that plan, including employees and their dependents.

The existing CEI (which has been in place for a couple of years) highlights employers offering inclusive insurance (with a "+" under criteria 2c) not only to employees but to their dependents. http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/benefits/7644.htm

So with the new plan the idea is to ensure coverage to employee and dependents.

I hope this helps, and again, more information will be forthcoming.

My best to you and the work you do,

Meghan

I have a question: Is HRC going to factor in ground level experiences of LGBT employees in their CEI ratings? Benefits are important, crucial even, but they don't mean all that much if the actual on the job experience of the LGBT employee is one filled with discrimination, either directly from supervisors and co-workers or through the imposition of a glass ceiling intended to keep LGBT's from being considered for raises and promotions.

I bumped up against such a glass ceiling at Best Buy, my last employer (100% CEI rating), and I am quite sure it had much to do with my being trans. I was overqualified for my position, but consistently passed over for promotion in favor of employees half my age with barely a fraction of my experience.

In my opinion, if ground-level experience isn't factored into a company's rating, then they have no pressure placed on them to do much, if anything, to stop it. In fact, in a state that already has non-discrimination laws protecting LGBT workers, as mine does, the glass ceiling is a common way of encouraging LGBT workers to quit (thus saving the company the risk of a legal challenge and of paying unemployment benefits), or failing that, ensuring that the LGBT worker remains in a low-paying entry-level position that has little or no influence, and no possibility of advancement.

Benefits are important, but without taking the actual experience of LGBT workers on the job into account in its ratings, the CEI does little, if anything, to improve the working lives of LGBT Americans.

lisa C. Gilinger | February 15, 2009 9:22 PM

Well written, researched, footnoted, well said.

HRC lauding the efforts of Corporate interests, awarding points and 100% scores for doing little or nothing for the health or welfare of us all.

Why am I not surprised?

Meghan Stabler | February 16, 2009 10:52 PM

Lisa, I agree it is well written, just as Kelly always does with her research.

My only observation would be to maybe suggest that next time, when writing a piece like this with the concern about the CEI, why not call Daryl or Samir directly and ask them "IF changes are coming", "IF so, what are they" and "IF so, when". She would have had answers. She could even have called myself as a person that has been pushing these changes through.

Folks, the concern with the CEI was heard, when I joined the Business Council and inherited the existing CEI, I knew we needed to change it, we have, it will be announced in the coming weeks, and it will be significant.

Yet another reason that rankings like this are so subjective and easy to manipulate.

Transgender health insurance is perhaps the most overlooked topic among the myriad issues facing any gender variant individual. It's so confounding to know what’s covered. One day it’s this and the next day it’s that; but wait until a claim is filed and the hunt for preexisting conditions begins. This “shell game” of benefit denial played by big insurance virtually requires a transperson to hold a law degree. And even that’s of little consequence since we have so few legal protections. No wonder we turn our collective backs in denial....until it's too late.

Thank you, Kelly, for presenting these disturbing trends and for exposing the intolerable, discriminatory negligence of HRC. The alarm needs to be sounded again and AGAIN.

Perhaps HRC's brazen ignorance lies within the fact that it is directed by a cisgendered male who can't possibly empathize with the plight of the transgendered minority.

Equitable access to health care benefits may not hold top-of-mind awareness among many pre-transitioners or pre-ops, but without sounding the alarm....without advocacy and without action, more of us will face the tragic consequences of transitioners like Robert Eads.

That's just no longer acceptable. Neither is the exclusionary, "status quo" conduct of HRC.

Does anyone know if they managed to even get accurate information out of the companys? Their coverage in years past has been very spotty with lots of benefits listed that weren't actually there.

I can speak for my company. Not only NO, but f-word No! This is the other issue that HRC has succeeded in pissing my off to no ends. I am not equal when it comes to medical insurance at my 100% rated company and HRC doesn't give a shit. AND, the company also doesn't give a shit because they got their useless 100%. The two trans people who tried to make changes in this area were blocked at every move, adding to their frustration. I am willing to bet that we will get a fully-inclusive ENDA long before HRC fixes the inequalities in their CEI piece of crap.

Everyday Transperson | February 16, 2009 11:46 AM

What I find funny is that someone else continually exposed this CEI index business on this blog numerous times even in the comments section of the post written by Mr. Herrshaft of HRC concerning the CEI.

Quite amazing how that person was ignored but now a "PhD" raises the same argument and everyone comes out of the woodwork and praises her like it was her discovery.

Sorry, but this is just a classic example of how biased this blog is depending on what "professional" is doing the posting and who is getting credit for someone elses discovery and exposure.............

Since you never answered my response on the other post about lobbying, then I'll take this opportunity to ask some questions here.

So, have you picked the date you plan on going to DC to lobby? Have you contacted the Congress people you want to see? Do you know the issues to discuss, the bill numbers, the language in the bills? Do you know what Congress people support the bills and who don't? I'm interested to see what your results are, since you don't need anyone's assistance.

Everyday,

I can sympathize with your concerns, but I don't know if it's fair to paint the entire blog with that brush. We're talking about a dozen comments, only a couple of which ladle on the praise you're talking about.

Yes this has been discussed before on this blog, and when Alex or Marti brought it up they were far from ignored (As far as I know neither one of them has a PhD).

I'm not saying that the pattern your observing isn't real, but this blog is a big place. There are occasionally transphobes, racists, and even homophobes who comment, but that's not representative of everyone who's here.

Winters has been writing FAQs and making formal presentations on insurance for a while, and includes documentation. These are handy resources for activists. This, and not a Ph.D. in engineering (?), is why people tend to pay attention - everyone appreciates good, sourced talking points.

Um, ET, you started reading this site (or at least commenting) long after people here were criticizing the CEI. You don't own criticism of the CEI.

Everyday Transperson | February 16, 2009 8:24 PM

Given the common sentiment and defending tone in the previous 3 responses, all of which apparently come from folks where each is a presentor here conveniently chosen "by invitation only" and who serve in some sort of "leadership" role, I see no further need to continue a discussion where only one specific ( lobbyist / corporate America)viewpoint is heard.

Yes, this is a big blog, but only a small amount of SELECT opinions and people are accepted and heard............

Thank you for your time.

Each is a presenter here? I'm guessing you mean "contributor," and only Tobi of that list of three above was a contributor.

You have an pretty big chip on your shoulder about these issues, and maybe it would be better to challenge the orthodoxy around these parts by just starting your own blog. You can do it for free and if people like it they'll continue to read what you have to say. That's really all there is to it.

steve tabarez | February 16, 2009 10:09 PM

I'm probably stepping in a big pile of crap with this /question, but as I looked at the referenced info, and I pay attention to the discussion, most of what I've taken from this is in terms of only the biggest, and most successful of corporations, and centers on professionals within these corporations. Say the rankings were changed to incorporate much of the points raised here, and without legislation compelling/forcing them to do so, how would this impact say, those in part time menial jobs, or unprofessional full time jobs with only limited coverage, and that coverage being paid more by the employee than the employer, as many have to do. Shoul that also be something included in this discussion, as well as the CEI?

Meghan Stabler | February 16, 2009 10:10 PM

OK I need to step in here and comment.

Most of you know me, some of you know me well.

First off, the timing of the release of the workplace report and the non-announcement of the new CEI criteria sucks.

As a member of the HRC Business Council, one of the few on the sub-committee for the CEI and the only Transgender representative on that committee I can attest that the criteria will change. I've spent too long on ensuring that the right words protections and criteria changes are in place to wait for the official announcement. I will take that up with Daryl in the morning. But rest assured it is changing.

From a high level here are the changes:
- The current "one of five" criteria will be gone! Replaced by coverage for "medically necessary treatments" as defined by Standards of Care ( WPATH ). Policy must reference said Standard of Care.
- That a medical plan not have exclusions based on "transgender", "gender identity" etc
- That proof of coverage be supplied at time of CEI submission.
- That there be a way to notify HRC Workplace should a plan fail to meet its promises and submitted CEI, so that HRC Workplace and work with the company to rectify.

There are a number of other changes, based on same-sex needs, health care and benefits.

The NEW CEI Criteria will significantly raise the bar that companies need to make in order to reach 100%

We are giving HR and Plan administrators some time to make the changes required. For those of you that are plan or benefit administrators, or whom have worked with your ERG to get changes made you will know that change cannot happen over night. Whilst we as transgender people can face daily discrimination in the workplace, or fear transitioning, we want these changes like yesterday. Understandably companies need time, especially in working with Insurance providers to ensure Transgender coverage. Additionally there will be training materials, best practices examples and other types of informational resources designed to help change a companies policy and practice of the policy

Some transgender community leaders are in the know on the changes, and I will be back with more details on the official announcement.

Megan,
It hasn't happened yet, and in the meantime, my 100% company will continue to deny me a medically-necessary procedure that would reduce my chances of breast cancer, bone density loss, heart attack and stroke. This is a procedure that others with the same body parts can get with far less proof then I need. Maybe if I die, then HRC will get their collective heads out of their asses. No. They'll just see it as one less loud-mouth tranny to deal with.

Thanks for dropping by, Ms. Stabler. We'll see about those changes in the official announcement, and we'll post about them when that happens!

Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Meghan, and for letting us know about this upcoming release of new CEI criteria. I hope everyone here will join me in thanking you for your service in representing our community on the HRC Business Council. You have volunteered for a difficult task that is too often underappreciated.

While my focus for this essay was on the 2009 CEI results, I would love to learn more about these new changes. Can you give us an announcement date?

Specifically, what is the HRC doing to address these shortcomings and consequent suffering by trans-employees in the 2010 CEI survey? And what of the 2011 survey?

Steve, thanks for raising a really important point. As bad as things are among large employers, I've heard countless narratives for many years of worse disparity and worse discrimination among smaller employers and for jobs associated with less social privilege. There are exceptions of course, with really good small employers and not-so-good large companies, but I think you've pointed out a very prevalent problem. Like you, I would love to hear more discussion about how we as a community and the CEI might address inequities at smaller employers for all job descriptions.

steve tabarez | February 17, 2009 12:01 AM

I hope so. Just felt compelled to ask as a former ex, David, now Chrissy, resorted to turning tricks to be able to get hormone shots, had no help from parents who disowned her, worked 2 jobs neither which offered insurance. At least not for her transitioning, or the psychological help she needed, and tried to get. It broke my heart to see her have to resort to that after already having to suffer the indignities of being trapped in a body she didn't belong in.Seems to me, there has to be a way. The drugs and alcohol that many turn to cope as a result, only make it worse. Thank you.

So Meghan has said repeatedly that changes are in the works. Let's take a deep breath and see what they are. Will they be everything we want, probably not. Will they be an improvement, probably. I think we at least need to see/hear what the changes are prior to passing judgement. We all say we want change and then when it looms on the horizon we get upset about that too...hmmmmm.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Thank you for that clarification Meghan. I'd also like to thank you for all the hard work you do.

Kim

Unfortunately this article has no surprises. It's long been obvious that HRC stands for the interests of the marketable parts of our community, meaning those who are non-threatening, heteronormative and disproportionately middle and upper middle class.
Their choice of issues to focus on, never mind the ENDA debacle, has continued to prove that they're quite consistent in serving their demographic, which is decidedly NOT trans, or even non gender normative. As much as I respect Meghan and what she wants to do, I can't help but think of what drove Donna Rose form the organization. Having one or two transpeople in the organization does not remedy the results of institutional transphobia, sorry.

We are not being served by HRC, have not been for a very long time, if ever, and I see no reason to believe it's going to change. Until HRC actually produces results that actually benefit transpeople, I'll be supporting organisations that actually do.

Christine Benjamin | February 19, 2009 1:02 PM

This is perhaps the best article re any trans issue I have ever read. Despite the HRC apologist's posts above, the article is balanced and goes to the heart of the problem with HRC -- it is disingenuous to the gender community. If anyone needed proof that HRC's throwing us under the ENDA bus wasn't an isolated situation, this is the smoking gun.


I agreed with HRC's incremental approach to adding "trans" issues the the CEI. But HRC has simply stopped the forward movement. With 13 states, DC, and numerous municipal ordinances protecting our community, there is no reason why HRC can't hold corporate America's feet to the fire.

At least we know we have a true allie with the Task Force.