Starbucks Announces It Will Cover Surgeries For Transgender Employees

28 June 2018, 12:52 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 14:18

Starbucks Transgender Health Coverage
Picture: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

“It makes trans people feel like they are people."

Starbucks has announced plans to expand its health coverage to give their transgender employees more comprehensive healthcare benefits.

Starbucks inside
Picture: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The ubiquitous coffee retailer has covered gender confirmation surgery for its employees since 2012, but will now also cover procedures "such as breast reduction or augmentation surgery, facial feminization, hair transplants and more". In the past, these procedures were considered "cosmetic" surgeries and were not covered by the company's healthcare.

Starbucks made the announcement and profiled a long time employee, Tate Buhrmester. Buhrmester is trans and has worked with Starbucks for 15 years.

“It makes trans people feel like they are people. Like they matter and their health matters," Tate said.

In their powerful announcement, Starbucks acknowledged that many of the cosmetic surgeries not previously covered are essential for those striving to be their authentic self.

The post also cited the high percentage of suicide attempts within the trans community, referencing a report which acknowledged that a lack of access to healthcare and certain procedures can be a cause for distress to many trans people.

“Starbucks is taking a stand and standing up for trans people and saying that our procedures aren’t just cosmetic – they are lifesaving. They’re affirming,” says Buhmester.

Pride month is always a chance for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to celebrate and Starbucks' inclusive and affirming expansion of health benefits for its trans partners is HUGE.