Starbucks is now expanding its medical coverage with more surgical and cosmetic procedures for its transgender employees, according to their official website. Since 2012, the coffee chain has covered gender reassignment surgery; commonly known as “bottom surgery.” Now, the company will cover other treatments like hair transplants, voice therapy, facial feminization surgery and “top surgery,” which involves breast reduction or augmentation.
The new initiative comes in partnership with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health in an effort to create more benefits. Jamison Green, who worked with the coffee company shared how Starbucks is the first corporate company to partner with the organization.
“Starbucks was not afraid to ask all the right questions and demand that people get the best possible care,” said Green. “We produced a list of the most crucial benefits and those that are deemed problematic to insurance companies, such as facial feminization and electrolysis.”
Ultimately, the initiative to create more inclusive health care options for the LGBTQ community was made possible out of the company’s desire to assist its employees with the health care they need.
“You have to think of it from an equity perspective,” said Ron Crawford, Starbuck's Vice President of Benefits in an official statement. “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.”
Nonetheless, despite the progress, Starbucks has been in hot water in the past for racial discrimination after an incident in Philadelphia and alleged discrimination against a transgender employee back in March 2013. Paul Bray, a transgender man, is currently suing the company for allegedly being treated differently after he revealed his sexual identity to employees.
He’s suing two shops in Minnesota, according to the Chicago Tribune.