Disney Will Pay For Mickey Mouse to Become a Minnie?

Neil Katz at CBSNews.com has a new question: "Transgender surgery: should your company pay for it?" Those who would say "No" and resist the latest PC push at major corporations are nowhere to be found by CBS or the AP:

While millions of Americans are grappling with employer-provided health insurance that covers less and costs more, one surprising group is benefiting as of late - transgendered people.

That's according to an Associated Press report [by Lisa Leff] which found that big name companies like Coca-Cola, Campbell Soup and Walt Disney [!] have expanded their insurance coverage to meet the needs of transgender workers.

All told, there are 85 large businesses and law firms that cover the cost of at least one surgery, according to a 2010 survey by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group.

Not only did CBS and AP fail to question the morality or wisdom of "sex reassignment surgery," they also avoided the economics of pressuring corporations to add this surgery to their coverage plans. How long before other employees start saying "I was born in the body of someone who needs a nose job?"

Leff's report is an amazing 1100 words of promotional copy, without one discouraging word. The Katz piece is illustrated by an AP  photo of Gina Duncan, a transgendered employee at Wells Fargo, "where her sex reassignment surgery was covered by health insurance." He continued:

 "The trend follows a concerted push by transgender rights advocates to get employers and insurers to see sex reassignment the way the American Medical Association does - as a medically indicated rather than an optional procedure for people diagnosed with gender identity disorder.

In order to transition from one gender to another, patients may need some combination of hormone treatments, breast augmentation, plastic surgery to remove or reconstruct genitals and facial reconstruction. People suffering from gender identity disorder are at a very high risk for suicide.

Some businesses see covering the cost of transgender surgery as not only an important human resources statement, but good business sense. They want to retain valuable employees and are keen to keep a 100 percent rating on the Corporate Equality Index, a measure graded by the Human Rights Campaign.

The next index comes out in fall and in order to keep a pristine rank [with HRC], companies will have to offer at least one insurance plan that covers at least $75,000 worth of surgery and other treatments recommended by a patient's doctor. 

Perhaps the most amazing part of the AP story is comparing the sexual mutilation surgery to appendix removal:

"We understand people simply get appendicitis, and it is something our community deals with through insurance," said Andre Wilson, who counsels companies on transgender issues as a senior consultant with San Francisco-based Jamison Green & Associates. "That's what we need to understand about transsexualism. Not everybody will be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, and in fact, few people will be. But the people who are diagnosed with it really need treatment." 

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