Navigating the bureaucratic ins-and-outs of university employment and health care can be challenging at the best of times, and the prospect of pursuing gender transition while involved in higher education can often seem daunting. Even with contractual provisions in place which affirm the right to safe bathroom access, a work environment free from microagressions, and insurance coverage for transition-related healthcare, it is not always easy to obtain information about these rights or the procedures in place for redressing grievances.
To this end, UAW 4121 has inaugurated a new Trans Equity Working Group, which will seek to:
1. Provide our UW trans community with clear, public, and readily-accessible information regarding LifeWise insurance coverage of transition-related healthcare, trans-affirming doctors, and their rights as students and workers
2. Support ongoing insurance claims and appeals processes
3. Ensure the implementation of new contractual provisions regarding gender-neutral bathrooms and protection from microagressions, including, for instance, arranging for Safe Zone trainings and assisting with individual grievance procedures
4. Identify and resolve new issues that affect our trans constituents as they arise
One of our first priorities will be establishing a list of medically-necessary treatments related to gender transition which, as a private insurance provider in the State of Washington, LifeWise is obligated to cover under the GAIP plan. In order to better represent our community in discussions with the UW administration and LifeWise, we are inviting constituents and their GAIP-insured dependents who are transitioning, or contemplating transition, to participate in a short anonymous survey regarding your medical needs and goals, as well as other concerns you may have. While we know that there are many non-transition-related barriers to health care access and campus equity faced by trans members of the UW community, at this time we are focusing on Lifewise and transition-related concerns because we are in a position to make major and lasting policy changes in this area.
This survey can be found at https://catalyst.uw.edu/
We also would like to invite anyone who would be interested in getting involved with the group to contact us via email at Trans-Equity@uaw4121.org, and to attend our next meeting, on Thursday, November 5th at 5;30pm in Condon Hall 511A. In particular, we are hoping to hear from trans women/transfeminine people—if you are willing to offer your time, your leadership would be much appreciated!
Thank you for your attention. We look forward to hearing from you, and wish you a pleasant and productive start to the new year!
Your Trans Equity Working Group