Labor and LGBT groups launch the “Trans Month of Action”

| March 5, 2013 | Comments (0)
A coalition of labor unions and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality groups will launch “Trans Month of Action” at an event titled “Transitioning to Better Healthcare” at Portland State University (PSU) on Tuesday, March 5th. The event is part of local and national efforts to educate LGBT people and labor unions about the importance of access to basic medically-necessary healthcare for transgender people.
Event Details

Title: Transitioning to Better Healthcare
Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Portland State University Academic and Student Rec Center, Room 001
Street Address: 1800 SW 6th Ave., Portland, OR
Speakers: Tash Shatz, Trans Justice Manager of Basic Rights Oregon; Daylen Gonzalesof TransActive; and Shellea Allen, Co-Vice President of Pride at Work.

This first-of-its-kind effort is inspired by the belief that all workers deserve to have all medically-necessary care covered by health insurance, including transgender people whose healthcare needs are not being met.

“Many of our members have struggled through their unions to get the medically-necessary healthcare they need, and their struggles have forged a path that has led us to so many recent victories,” said Ben Marston, president of Oregon Pride at Work, a constituency affiliate of the AFL-CIO, and member of UNITE HERE Local 8. Marston added “Oregon Pride at Work has built union contracts that protect the health coverage of transgender workers even when their employer will not. And by continuing to build on that, we will raise the bar for other unions and eventually lead non-unions to do the same.”

In a recent healthcare victory this past January, the state Department of Consumer and Business Services announced that health insurance policies in Oregon may no longer deny specific treatments to transgender people when the same treatments are available to non-transgender people.  Led by the advocacy of Basic Rights Oregon, the announcement affirms the overwhelming consensus in the medical community: that ending unfair healthcare insurance exclusions is not only necessary, but also the right thing to do.

“Oregon has made a lot of progress on removing trans exclusions in healthcare. But it is critical that we continue to make sure all people have access to the medical care they need,” said Maura Kelly, a spokesperson of Pride at Work Oregon and assistant professor of sociology at PSU, and member of the PSU AAUP. “Events like this will help educate our communities about this serious injustice and leverage the power of labor unions to commit to bargaining for trans-inclusive healthcare for their members.”

“As someone who is gender non-conforming, I know what it’s like when you can’t be your true self in front of a medical provider. And as someone in the labor movement, we are motivated by the belief that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’” said Marston. “Denying medically-necessary healthcare to transgender people does real injury to workers and the labor movement has an obligation to push for more fairness on this issue.” 

A 2011 national study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 19% of transgender and gender non-conforming people are denied healthcare, and 28% of transgender and gender non-conforming people postpone medical care for fear of discrimination. 

Trans Month of Action will move the conversation on transgender healthcare discrimination forward by also discussing the critical need for insurance providers to include transition-related care in their policies.

The event will include an introduction to transgender issues, a panel of transgender students from PSU discussing their experiences with healthcare, an update on the recent changes related to trans inclusive healthcare in Oregon, and highlights of the ongoing actions to improve access to transgender children and adults in Oregon.

Trans Month of Action is sponsored by the Center for American Progress, Pride at Work, the Service Employees International Union, the Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Transgender Equality.

To learn more, please contact David McElhatton / 

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Category: Featured, News: Transgender Justice

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