September 5, 2018
Transgender people experience what the American Psychiatric Association calls gender dysphoria, or “significant distress due to the difference between their gender and sex.” Hormone therapies and gender confirmation surgeries help relieve some of that distress. After flip-flopping on the decision for the past two years, the state of Wisconsin’s Group Insurance Board will once again offer insurance coverage to state employees who seek such treatment. It all started in May 2016, when the Obama Administration announced that gender identity-based discrimination was illegal. At that time, the board voted in line with the Administration’s decision, but in February 2017, the board reversed their decision and barred coverage for transgender treatment amid pressure from state officials. Now, after an order from a federal judge, the Wisconsin Board has flipped again. Wren Vetens, a trans woman who fought for coverage and studies at UW Health, writes, “This was an empowering moment, offering up hope things can get better.”
In response to the #OscarsSoWhite movement, TV executives are scrambling to diversify their staff. It’s proving to be a struggle, given the industry’s emphasis on “privileged apprenticeships,” which are economically out of reach for many aspiring writers of color. For instance, the TV network FX prides itself on hiring directors with “extensive episodic television experience,” but women and people of color are less likely to have opportunities to gain such experience. That’s why FX executives decided to change things up: instead of searching for talent in the same old places, they’ve started to consider directors of “short films, music videos, and independent films.” FX executive John Landgraf writes, “It unlocked a huge amount of talent and potential that was simply being overlooked.” Having women and people of color at the table drastically changes what ends up on screen. Not only are stereotypes challenged and important questions asked, but new perspectives and insights make for better TV.
A new study from the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and the communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick shows that 47% of Millennials consider diversity and inclusion to be an important criterion when looking for a new job, as opposed to 33% of Generation Xers and 37% of Baby Boomers. Millennials are also much more likely to pick up on incidents of discrimination and bias at work. While Gen Xers and Boomers tend to attribute the importance of diversity and inclusion to things like “outside pressures” and “making themselves look better/improving reputation,” Millennials focus more on the positive impact of D&I on employees—and the business as a whole. The study concludes that “given the importance of D&I at work to Millennials in particular, employers should consider better communications of their D&I activities to their employees.”