Portland adds sex-reassignment surgery to city employee health benefits


A proposal by Portland Mayor Sam Adams to give transgender city employees a new health benefit — sex-reassignment surgery — was approved by the city council this week.

Portland’s Just Out blog reports:

Portland is now the third municipality in the country to provide trans-inclusive care to its employees. The city already provided coverage for counseling and hormone treatment, but has now added surgical benefits.

The mayor said in his opening comments that extending full-coverage to transgender city employees is both good business and the right thing to do. Adams pointed out that a number of major corporations such as Nike, Kraft and Coca-Cola already provide such benefits, but said that, above all, extending coverage is an issue of basic fairness.

“To the trans community of Portland, who each and every day makes this city a better place, it is my honor and privilege to serve on a city council that can bring an ounce of fairness in return,” Mayor Adams said.

According to the city’s Human Resources Department, the city will cover 80-percent of the surgery.

San Francisco became the first city in the country to cover sex-change surgeries for employees back in 2001. Portland is the first city government in Oregon to offer the coverage, although Oregon’s Multnomah County also provides the benefits.

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