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Health Care Equity for All

WHEREAS:

            The labor movement has an excellent history of organizing for social and economic justice for all workers in the spirit of our historic motto, “an injury to one is an injury to all”; and

WHEREAS:

            Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers are a vital part of the labor movement; and

WHEREAS:

            Both the LGBT communities and the labor movement share common concerns for economic and political justice, equal opportunity and an improved quality of life for all working people; and

WHEREAS:

            Access to health care is regularly denied to transgender and gender-nonconforming people, who frequently experience discrimination when they seek health care; and

WHEREAS:

            In September 2011, the Pride@Work National Executive Board passed a resolution opposing discrimination on the basis of gender identity in health care and calling on our sisters and brothers in labor to take action in support of transgender workers; and

WHEREAS:

            In October of 2013, a resolution similar to this was passed by AFSCME members from across Illinois at the AFSCME Council 31 Convention in Springfield, Ill.  Therefore we are urging our sisters and brothers at the International level to support this resolution, and take action on this important issue; and

WHEREAS:

            Transgender and gender-nonconforming people have great difficulty securing affordable, comprehensive health care, and their situation is compounded by systemic discrimination and health care providers’ lack of basic cultural competency on transgender issues; and

WHEREAS:

            Many transgender people have their applications for health insurance denied when they disclose their transgender status or transition-related medical history to a potential insurer; and

WHEREAS:

            Most health care insurance policies still specifically exclude transgender-related care and services, which often means that transgender workers and family members will not be covered for procedures such as hormone therapy, transition-related surgery, and/or gender identity-related mental health services; and

WHEREAS:

            Gender identity discrimination is alienating and keeps people from accessing medically necessary care.  Lack of coverage can cause and/or aggravate additional serious and expensive health problems, such as stress-related physical illness, depression, and substance abuse problems; and

WHEREAS:

            Self- and fully insured employer health plans are available and attainable.  Insurance carriers have available plans without blanket exclusions for transgender-related health care.  A growing number of private businesses, some public sector employers (Berkeley and San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon) and some unions (UNITE HERE and SEIU on the west coast), are currently providing trans-inclusive health care coverage.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME International supports the right of transgender AFSCME members to have full access to all of their health care needs through their insurance policy.

 

SUBMITTED BY:
Ellen Larrimore, President and Delegate
Diane Rumsfield, Recording Secretary
AFSCME Local 1989, Council 31
Illinois

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