Michael G. Bare, MPH
Program Coordinator
National LGBT Cancer Network

With TIME magazine’s cover of Laverne Cox for the article “The Transgender Tipping Point,” to conversations generated around the web about use of the word “tranny” on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the infamous Janet Mock interview on Piers Morgan, the past few months have seen a huge increase in trans visibility across the media. However what many may have missed are the smaller stories, which are impacting real lives of trans people on the ground.

Many colleges and universities, cities and states  have been making moves to ensure that their trans students and/ or employees have access to healthcare.  While there may have been headlines we missed, we have to give shout outs to a recent few that have changed their health coverage to include trans students and employees, a recent few: both the city and University of Rochester, Washington State, Tufts University, and even Missoula, MT is the latest location that city council members are pushing to include trans health benefits for city employees.

Laverne Cox Time Cover
Laverne Cox’s TIME cover photo

In bigger news, policy opinions and changes are having a deeper, systemic effect. The American Medical Association just stated that trans people don’t need to have surgeries to change their birth certificate.  The Medicare blanket exclusion for transition related care was just removed.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) is producing a year-long internal awareness campaign to educate their workforce about trans* discrimination & health disparities. New York State has changed procedure, making it easier for trans New Yorkers to change their gender on their birth certificate, while in California, a bill has passed Assembly and is going to the state Senate, which respects trans people’s gender on death certificates. On top of these great policy changes, the WHO published a report, together with 6 other UN agencies, condemning the (unfortunately not uncommon) practice of forced sterilization of trans and intersexed people. The state of Maryland passed the “The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014” which included trans people in the states anti-discrimination laws.

And, perhaps the cherry on top of all this positive news: “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves,”, a resource guide for trans health, the first of it’s kind, which was modeled after the famous 190’s feminist women’s health book “Our Bodies, Our Selves” was published last month.

I’m sure I’ve missed some stories, if there’s anything you’d like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments below!


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