The transgender community in New Hampshire is dissapointed after the Manchester School Board avoided taking action to include transgender health care as an employee benefit.
“I was disappointed and frankly a little confused,” said G.L.A.D. Executive Director Janson Wu.
Speaking to reporters from his Boston office, Wu said that the Manchester School Board’s decision to table the vote on transgender health care benefits sends the wrong message.
“I worry the most about young, transgender students in the district hearing a message from the leaders of their own school that they are not as valued as the other students,” said Wu.
School board member Richard Girard said at Monday’s meeting that the board had too many unanswered questions to take a vote in good faith.
“Saying it is a sign that anyone is being discriminated against or held in disfavor is a bit of a reach,” Girard said, adding that the board is looking for clarification on a number of things; one of them being whether transgender health services are considered elective.
“Should everybody in a society pay for everybody else’s medical wishes, needs, and desires?” Girard asked.
“The facts are that transgender health care is health care ... period,” Wu argued.
Last year, the city approved transgender health care services, including sex change surgery, for city employees. For now, those same services are not covered for employees of the school district.
“It only underscores a need for consistent, statewide protection for transgender people throughout New Hampshire,” Wu said.
If the school board eventually approves transgender health benefits, health insurance would go up about $1.10/month for each of the 3,800 members on the plan. That’s about $50,000 every year. Most of that would be paid for by taxpayers.