Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's not Willy Wonka, but . . .

M&M/Mars announced today that it will be building a $250 million chocolate factory in Topeka, Ks.

What does the planned Mars chocolate factory mean to transgender Topekans and transgender Kansans?

At the very least, it means another place where a company sees the value of embracing diversity and acknowledges the human value of transgender people.

It means that somewhere in America, people who are transgender are already lovingly bringing M&M's into homes around the world. The children of Westboro Baptist Church have been joyfully devouring LGBT processed chocolate. There is a bit of a wry smile on my face just now.

What it really means, is that the day is coming closer when corporations will tell insurance companies that their employees should have coverage for all medically necessary procedures, including Gender Affirmation Surgery.

The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index shows Mars Inc. with a rating of 73. They have anti-discrimination policy protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, insurance benefits for same sex partners, and some transition-related coverage for transgender employees - but not surgery - at least not yet.

Beginning next year, companies will need to provide insurance coverage for surgery in order to receive a perfect 100 on the HRC index. It is time for LGBTQA Americans to begin to make our purchasing decisions with consideration of this score.

338 major U.S. businesses scored the perfect 100. It is a sign of things to come. It's not Willy Wonka, but . . .

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