EqualityMaine Advances Trans Healthcare Coverage

AJ Trager

MAINE - There is a lot more to do in the LGBT community than just marriage equality and that includes adjustment to healthcare programs and coverage.

Maine became the eighth jurisdiction in the country to extend marriage freedoms o same-sex couples when Mainers voted YES on the 2012 ballot. This marked the first time that freedom to marry won a popular vote.

EqualityMaine has shifted its focus towards ending transgender discrimination in healthcare. This year Basic Rights Oregon and Transgender Law Center created a toolkit providing guidance on how to have effective conversations about transgender access to healthcare.

Over the past few months, EqualityMaine staff and coalition members have been trained with the toolkit created- all with the goal of ending transgender healthcare discrimination.

The Equality organization is working in three areas: educating private insurance companies so they know that the right thing to do is offer coverage that doesn't exclude medically necessary care, implementing the state's trans-inclusive non-discrimination law that calls for private insurance companies to be held accountable for following state law and advocating for inclusive MaineCare coverage to cover transgender individuals without a rider and without exclusions.

The next stage in the process is to gather postcards that will be sent to the governor to show support for ending discrimination of transgender healthcare.

The same push has started here in Michigan. Affirmations is leading a discussion on transgender health care through the creation of the Health Equity Council. The next meeting is in September where they group will reconvene and discuss how Michigan providers can help close the gap on LGBT health coverage and include safe space practices in the daily routine of the medical professionals.

Training initiatives are in their beginning stages, but soon Michigan can expect a big push for LGBT health trainings for interested medical professionals.

So far in those that are currently involved in the process include Transgender Michigan, Equality Michigan, Alternatives for Girls, ACLU of Michigan, ACCESS, Ruth Ellis Center and Affirmations as well as healthcare professionals from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Oakland County Health Division, Mercy Health Saint Mary's, AIDS Partnership Michigan, University of Michigan Comprehensive Gender Services Program, Henry Ford Home Health Care, Clinic for Child Study, ALORDE Collective, Wayne State University School of Social Work, CHE Trinity Health, St. John Providence Health System, Superior Air Ground Ambulance and University of Michigan-Dearborn, Beaumont Health System and Rosemary Jozwiak & Associates.

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