Starbucks Will Now Pay for ‘Top Surgeries,’ Other Cosmetic Procedures for Its Transgender Employees

Illustration for article titled Starbucks Will Now Pay for ‘Top Surgeries,’ Other Cosmetic Procedures for Its Transgender Employees
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

In what seems to be an ongoing effort to continue to be as woke as they wanna be, the Starbucks Coffee Co., infamously embroiled in one of the messiest corporate racial incidents in recent memory, has announced plans to offer comprehensive health care for its transgender employees, covering procedures usually deemed “cosmetic” and not financed by most insurers.

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On Monday, and perhaps not unintentionally during Pride Month, the company announced that in addition to covering gender reassignment, or “bottom surgery,” which it has done since 2012, the company will now foot the bill for breast reduction or augmentation (i.e., “top surgery”), hair transplants, voice therapy and facial-feminization surgery.

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This is important, according to PinkNews, as “trans advocates have highlighted that medical transition is often represented as one surgery, when it actually involves multiple procedures that take many years.”

It reports that the company partnered with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health to create the new benefits.

Jamison Green, who worked with Starbucks on behalf of WPATH, said that the company was the first to ever partner with the charity.

“Starbucks was not afraid to ask all the right questions and demand that people get the best possible care,” said Green, according to PinkNews. “We produced a list of the most crucial benefits and those that are deemed problematic to insurance companies, such as facial feminization and electrolysis.”

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“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, echoed in a statement. “You have to think of it from an equity perspective.”

Starbucks just named Mellody Hobson, a black woman, to run the company as its No. 2. It has offered all of its employees—including part-timers—insurance benefits since 1998.

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PinkNews also reports that a transgender man, Paul Bray, is currently suing the coffee conglomerate for discrimination, filing a complaint against two Starbucks coffee shops in the Minnesota cities of Eden Prairie and Edina, saying that their treatment of him changed after he told them he was transgender in March 2013.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

This will probably not be a popular take here but Starbucks is in fact a pretty progressive company. It’s remarkable how one racist clerk - 3000 miles from HQ in a corporation that has more than 170,000 employees - can shatter that image.