Rochester Announces Transgender-Inclusive Benefits for City Employees at Empire State Pride Agenda Spring Dinner

Sharing the stage at the Pride Agenda’s 15th Annual Spring Dinner, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and City Councilmember-at-Large Matt Haag share news of the city’s new transition-related healthcare coverage for municipal employees who are transgender or gender non-conforming

(Rochester, NY)

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren alongside Rochester City Councilmember-at-Large Matt Haag announced this evening at the Empire State Pride Agenda’s Spring Dinner in the Rochester Riverside Convention Center that the city will extend transition-related healthcare coverage to transgender and gender non-conforming municipal employees. The news comes as New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization hosts its 15th annual event that celebrates Western New York’s commitment to LGBT equality and justice.

The benefits will go into effect beginning January 1, 2015 at which time the City of Rochester will add transgender healthcare benefits for employees and their family members who are enrolled in the City’s ‘enhanced’ medical plan. Approved by the City’s Labor Management Healthcare Committee in April, the new coverage will pay for services related to gender reassignment surgery such as medical and psychological counseling, hormone therapy and cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

“We’re so proud that Mayor Warren, Councilmember-at-Large Haag and the City of Rochester shared this significant news on this auspicious occasion of the Pride Agenda’s 15th Spring Dinner. The inclusion of transition-related care in municipal benefits will improve the health and well-being of transgender employees and also send a message to the rest of our state that we need to provide medically-necessary care to all transgender New Yorkers,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan M. Schaefer. “Rochester has long been a leader on LGBT civil rights and this is just one more example of how this great city sets a strong example for the rest of New York State.”

“I would like to acknowledge and thank Councilmember Haag and the City’s Labor Management Healthcare Committee for helping to make Rochester’s healthcare policies relevant to all of our citizens,” said Mayor Warren. “Eliminating barriers to health care is simply the right thing to do. The City was the first to support domestic partnerships and I am happy that we lead the effort to equalize benefits for all once again.”]

“For more than a year, I've worked with two administrations to ensure the Trans* community's full participation in our city. I am so pleased that since the beginning of her administration, Mayor Warren has joined me in working to achieve this goal,” said City of Rochester Councilmember-at-Large Matt Haag. “Together, we have worked to ensure that City of Rochester employees, their spouses, and dependents will have the fullest gender affirming benefits our insurer provides. I am pleased that Rochester is now stepping up to provide a Trans* inclusive health policy for all city employees.”

The Empire State Pride Agenda’s Spring Dinner celebrates Rochester and Western New York’s commitment to winning the fight for equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families.  Featuring a reception, a presentation of the Community Service Award and a live auction, the Spring Dinner is an inspiring evening that draws hundreds of LGBT New Yorkers and allies together to celebrate and garner support for the Pride Agenda’s work. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Spring Dinner and boasts host Stephen Wallem from Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, Keynote speaker New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, and honoring long-time local activist Evelyn Bailey with the Community Service Award.