Target: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Goal: Call for university health plans that provide transgender-inclusive coverage for both students and employees
Since 2007, a handful of colleges and universities across the country have added at least some transgender-inclusive benefits to their employee and student health plans, including hormone therapy and counseling. While this certainly is a positive step, such considerations did not exist at all before then, and transgender individuals at most of the country’s nearly 4,500 institutions of higher learning still have to struggle with lack of access to treatment and therapy, on top of the everyday discrimination they face simply for being born in the wrong body.
The transition process is difficult enough for trans people without adding the financial hardships that come from health care coverage denials for a treatment that medical experts, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, acknowledge is a medical necessity. A great step for American campuses toward embracing gender diversity and supporting trans students and employees would be to add comprehensive trans-inclusive benefits to their health plans, including not only various therapies but also gender affirmation (or gender “reassignment”) operations. Adding these benefits would not affect tuition, but they would encourage trans students to attend inclusive universities, and they would allow for better access to affordable health care for all trans individuals at American schools, therefore discouraging dangerous alternative transition practices.
By signing this petition, you will show Secretary Duncan that creating a culture of inclusivity for transgender individuals is an important step in progress for human rights in this country, and that this effort can begin at our higher education institutions. You will encourage Secretary Duncan to call on our universities to include comprehensive benefits in their health plans for trans students and employees.
Dear Secretary Duncan,
A spirit of diversity and inclusivity is an important aspect of every successful university campus. However, most American colleges do not include comprehensive benefits for transgender students and employees in their health care plans. Recently a number of progressive schools have begun adding hormone therapy, counseling, and gender affirmation surgeries to their health care plans, acknowledging that such practices are medically necessary for trans individuals.
I am calling on you to encourage all American higher education institutions to add full trans-inclusive coverage to their health care plans, because trans individuals deserve proper medical treatment for their needs, just the same as their cisgender colleagues. I am asking you to hold up universities which have implemented such comprehensive plans as inspiring examples of diversity and inclusivity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Peter aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr