Starbucks has just taken a grande step for its transgender employees.
Starbucks announced on Monday that it has expanded the number of gender affirming surgeries it covers under its insurance plan. The coffee company has offered coverage for gender confirmation surgery since 2012, but it has now expanded its insurance coverage to include cosmetic procedures like breast reduction or augmentation, hair transplants and facial feminization, according to its official website.
“The approach was driven not just by the company’s desire to provide truly inclusive coverage, and by powerful conversations with transgender partners about how those benefits would allow them to truly be who they are,” Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks, said in a story accompanying the announcement on their website.
“It makes trans people feel like they are people,” said Tate Buhrmester, a transgender manager of a Starbucks in Austin, Texas, “like they matter and their health matters.”
Starbucks worked with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health to draw up its brand new benefits plan. According to the company press release, Starbucks was the first company to ask WPATH for its help when crafting its new policy.
“Starbucks was not afraid to ask all the right questions and demand that people get the best possible care,” Jamison Green, recent president of WPATH said. “We produced a list of the most crucial benefits and those that are deemed problematic to insurance companies, such as facial feminization and electrolysis.”
According to a 2014 report from the Williams Institute, 41 percent of transgender people in America had attempted suicide at some point, much higher than the average for the overall population, which is 4.6 percent. The authors of the report said one of the factors in this high percentage is lack of access to transition-related care.