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LGBTQ+ for Dummies -- BONUS

Welcome to LGBTQ+ for Dummies

-- BONUS EDITION -- HR and Talent Acquisition pros won't want to miss this listener question!

It's PRIDE month and we're celebrating and learning more about the LGBTQ+ community. And as a straight white male, I thought it fitting that I'd ask the uncomfortable questions many of us are afraid to ask. To answer these questions we have special guest expert Michelle Raymond from myGwork, a LinkedIn-like platform for the LGBTQ+ community, who will be droppin' the knowledge.

Listen and Learn!



Welcome to LGBTQ plus for Dummies part three. It's Pride month, and we're celebrating and learning more about the LGBTQ plus community. And as a straight white dude, I thought it might be fitting that I would ask the uncomfortable questions many of us are afraid to ask. To answer these questions we have special guest expert, Michelle Raymond from MyGWork, a LinkedIn like platform for the LGBTQ plus community. She will be dropping the knowledge. Let's do this.

Chad (42s):

Hey Michelle, thanks for joining us again. How's this month been after the current LGBTQ plus for Dummies. Have you get gotten any feedback? What's been going on?

Michelle (53s):

It's gotten some amazing feedback. I'm very pleased at how far these podcasts have reached. I've had members of the community, obviously come back and say, Hey, thank you for sharing this information. But I think the thing I'm most pleased and happy to hear is from those who learned something from these podcasts. So thank you for having me back.

Chad (1m 14s):

No, no, I love it. And this mini series has been so incredibly popular that we actually have a bonus question from a listener. So are you, are you ready to take the question?

Michelle (1m 26s):

I would love to.

Chad (1m 27s):

Okay. This one's from Jarvis over at Outmatch. Here we go.

Jarvis (1m 31s):

Hi Chad and Michelle! It's Jarvis from Outmatch. First, just want to say, thank you guys so much for putting together this much needed mini-series. One topic that I'd love to hear your thoughts on is what truly inclusive insurance benefits look like? I read a really interesting article about how some employers may be unaware that their benefits can exclude certain populations. So the example that they highlighted was infertility treatments, because the way infertility is defined for heterosexual couples, they can typically be diagnosed after one year of trying to get pregnant through regular intercourse that does not result in a pregnancy, but that actually can preclude LGBTQ plus members or single parents by choice.

Jarvis (2m 14s):

And they explained that a really supportive benefit doesn't have a preclusion criteria that requires a diagnosis of infertility. So I just love to hear thoughts on what inclusive benefits should look like. And if you have any other examples where employers may not be aware that their existing benefits are exclusionary. Thanks.

Chad (2m 34s):

Wow. Okay. So this is, this is not a basic question, we're probably going to have to dig into this, right?

Michelle (2m 41s):

Yeah. Let's, let's unpack it one by one.

Chad (2m 43s):

Okay. Okay. Let's do it.

Michelle (2m 44s):

Thank you, Jarvis for that question. It's a great one. I'm going to try to unpack it the best I can, but thank you again for asking the tough questions. So I think probably the first place we should start is talking about why benefits are important in the first place. And I know in the US on average, benefits can account for approximately 30% of an employee's overall compensation package. So making sure that this valuable bundle of benefits extends to your entire workforce, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity is critical.

Michelle (3m 25s):

And when benefits are denied the cost to LGBTQ plus workers and their families can be profound.

Chad (3m 32s):

So tell me what inclusionary looks like first.

Michelle (3m 35s):

Ooh. Okay. So there's a couple things that come to mind. One of them, of course, our healthcare benefits that are extended to include domestic partners, as well as the children of a domestic partner. So regardless of biological or adoptive status, that's, you know, one I can think of immediately in the event and the unfortunate events that either a basic partner passes and that employee is requesting bereavement, a healthcare plan that explicitly covers medically necessary health services for transgender people. And with that, I'm talking mental health care benefits, hormone therapy, even short or long-term disability benefits due to a gender affirmation surgery, for example.

Michelle (4m 24s):

And here's the key benefits that do not charge transgender employees, a higher premium for said coverage.

Chad (4m 32s):

Ah, good point. Wow. Yeah.

Michelle (4m 33s):

Those are two that definitely come to mind immediately. And if, I guess we'll take this one step further, I'm speaking to what Jarvis asked and her question is, family services. So adoption assistance, foster care, reproductive technology assistance as Jarvis was, you know, referring to in the article that she read and even parental leave that extends to men, CIS, or trans, parents who have adopted or even came to be parents through surrogacy, for example, or an event that I, a lesbian woman have a child via my partner. And so these are all types of examples of inclusionary healthcare benefits that I have come across.

Chad (5m 16s):

Okay. Okay. What about exclusionary? Where do we go from there?

Michelle (5m 20s):

Now, the good news is that in recent years, the healthcare industry has made pretty progressive strides to include members of the trans community, as I mentioned earlier. But one more I have found that is really interesting, and employers may not know that they're being exclusionary. So one, I'm going to recommend every employer out there to take a look at their health care plans and make sure, okay, is the language up to date? Are we being inclusive because this does require a review every once in a while. But here's one that's super interesting, and there are many healthcare plans that have sex specific care. Okay. So let me give you an example.

Michelle (6m 0s):

I was born a female. I have female reproductive organs.

Chad (6m 6s):


Michelle (6m 6s):

I identify as a woman and I express myself as a woman. Okay.

Chad (6m 11s):


Michelle (6m 11s):

If I went to a doctor or before I went to the doctor, if I called up my healthcare provider and I said, Hey, would you cover the cost of a prostate exam? What do you think they would say?

Chad (6m 23s):


Michelle (6m 24s):

Right. Why? Because the prostate is not part of the female anatomy. Okay. It makes sense.

Chad (6m 31s):


Michelle (6m 31s):

But flip the script. I was born a female. I was assigned that gender at birth. I have female reproductive system, but I identify and express myself as a male. So therefore I'm a transgender male and I've even gone through the legal process of getting my gender updated on my birth certificate and on my legal documents. Okay. So by law, I'm a male. And imagine, I'm a male, and unfortunately I get cervical cancer that requires a hysterectomy would a healthcare plan provide the cost of coverage for a male to get a hysterectomy.

Chad (7m 10s):

No. Yeah. And so, yeah, again, so I have we seen strides, on the insurance side of the house to be able to actually catch up with this or no.

Michelle (7m 22s):

Not all.

Chad (7m 22s):


Michelle (7m 22s):

And that's why taking a look at sex specific care that's written into your benefit plans is something to really take an extra look at these days because we have transgender men, transgender women who may still carry the sex organs of the opposite sex in which they identify with. Even though legally on paper, they're identified as a male, they may still have female reproductive organs that require, you know, even pre-checks. It doesn't have to be responsive, it can be preventative checks, like getting a prostate exam, like I mentioned earlier.

Chad (7m 60s):

Yeah. Wow. That is amazing. Anything else to share within Jarvis's question? Because again, that was pretty complex.

Michelle (8m 5s):

It is pretty complex. I think just, you know, the, the one thing that all employers can do is just always take a fresh look at the benefits that are being offered. Listen to employees, some of these things you don't have to think about until they actually come to fruition. And so keep an open mind and, and be ready to make a change where necessary. Because as I mentioned before, not extending your benefits to the entire workforce can have a really detrimental effect, especially on LGBT people and their families.

Chad (8m 33s):

Agreed. Yes, definitely be open-minded and learn. It's one of the reasons why we're doing this series is because again, people have problems asking the uncomfortable questions, but these uncomfortable questions are necessary in life as human beings and ensuring that your employees are taken care of. That's what we care about overall. Excellent. Again, this is Michelle Raymond from My G Work. Michelle, you so much for joining us for this series and for this bonus episode, thank you Jarvis for sending in that, that question. Everyone out there listening, remember this is out there a whole series that is focused on LGBTQ plus for dummies on

Chad (9m 20s):

We've also created a special Spotify playlist called LGBTQ plus for dummies. Just search for it on Spotify or check us out wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks again, Michelle. You rock. Thank you so much. I hope to see you again soon. You got it. We out.


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