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Chicago To Be The Biggest City To Cover Gender Reassignment Surgery

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 5, 2015 8:20PM

Chicago will soon be the largest city in the country to cover gender reassignment surgeries for some city employees.

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced Wednesday, non-union city employees will be able to use city health care benefits to fund surgeries beginning Oct. 1. The mayor’s office says it's working with labor leaders to remove the exclusion for union workers.

“Chicago is known for being a city that is welcoming to all and inclusive of every resident, and this new policy is in line with our efforts to support the rights and well-being of transgender individuals,” Emanuel said in a press release. “With this change, Chicago will ensure that transgender city employees are able to receive the medical care that they need.”

The Benefits Committee is expected to approve the measure on Aug. 11.

Though the city has not outlined exactly what specific procedures will be covered, the Sun-Times reports the move would make gender reassignment surgery “standard” for city employees and their dependents. Chicago now joins San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia as a city that does not exclude gender reassignment surgeries from its health care plans. Additionally, some large corporations with Chicago headquarters such as Exelon, Groupon and Hyatt no longer exclude gender reassignment from their health care plans.

John Knight, LGBT & HIV Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois applauded the move, saying:

"More and more cities, states, private employers and the federal government have gotten rid of these outdated policy exclusions that make no sense, from either a medical or an economic standpoint. It’s wonderful news that Chicago employees will now have access to the gender affirming care they need."