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'Facial Feminization Surgery': Starbucks Takes Pro-Transgender Policy to a New Level

06-27-2018

Starbucks announced this week it's increasing its health benefits for transgender employees. The company will now cover surgeries that once were thought of as cosmetic.

Since 2012, gender reassignment surgery fell under Starbucks' umbrella of benefits, but now it says procedures such as breast reduction or augmentation, voice therapy, facial feminization surgery and hair transplants will be included.

The expanded benefits are the result of a collaboration between Starbucks and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, according to The Hill

Jamison Green, the past president of WPATH, said Starbucks is the first company ever to request that WPATH help turn its recommended healthcare into medical benefits, according to an article on Starbucks' website.

"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," stated Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks. 

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation named Starbucks a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality," receiving a perfect score on the foundation's "Corporate Equality Index 2018," according to The Hill.

The big shift toward additional transgender medical coverage comes even as the company has lost value on Wall Street. MarketWatch reports Starbucks shares are down 12.1% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 1.2% for the period.

The company's executive chairman Howard Schultz announced earlier this month that he's retiring after working for Starbucks for more than 30 years.

He's been a strong advocate for social issues in a way that critics have viewed as partisan, according to Business Insider.

The New York Times reported that Schultz is often talked about as a possible presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

"I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service," Schultz told The Times. "But I'm a long way from making any decisions about the future."

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