Portland, OR Passes Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Measure

Yesterday Portland, Oregon, became what's believed to be the third municipality in the country to provide trans-inclusive care to its employees, after the city council unanimously passed this historic measure.

According to the city's website:

The City already provides coverage for all employees (including transgender employees) for prescription medications, office visits and mental health treatments and other benefits. To truly provide medically necessary benefits that meet the needs of the City’s transgender employees, this recommendation adds coverage for the services required to complete gender transition.

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This action reaffirms the City's commitment to the importance of being an equitable and inclusive employer.

Mayor Sam Adams said while the decision was made in the interest of fairness, it also makes economic sense for the city- saying he believes this action is about "keeping and attracting the best and the brightest."

Congratulations to Portlanders, and to Basic Rights Oregon which waged a years-long campaign to pass this measure. As Basic Rights’ Executive Director Jeana Frazzini said in her testimony yesterday:

The American Medical Association has identified transgender health care as being medically necessary. Yet many transgender Oregonians are routinely denied the ability to purchase health insurance or are denied coverage for basic, medically-necessary care solely because they are transgender. Without health insurance, many transgender people have no access to health care and have nowhere to turn if they develop health problems. This discrimination is all too common and can lead to serious—even life-threatening—conditions.

Basic Rights Oregon says its Trans Justice Working Group worked tirelessly for nearly two years on the campaign to end health care discrimination against transgender Oregonians, and said the victory "also belongs to the Portland City Council, especially Mayor Sam Adams whose leadership for the LGBT community shone through today."

Portland's website says Seattle is considering giving similar protections to its transgender employees.