All Media and Announcements

TGI Network's 1st Annual Empowerment Breakfast

posted Feb 16, 2018, 10:19 PM by TGI Network of RI

On Saturday, March 31, 2018, we will commemorate the Transgender Day of Visibility, an international day of recognition for the strength and resilience of our community, with our First Annual Empowerment Breakfast. We are excited to invite you to  join us from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Southside Cultural Center at 393 Broad Street in Providence, where we will honor the work that is being done in our community, enjoy a meal provided by Amos House’s More than a Meal Catering, and present awards to a community member and an ally who have, through their advocacy and ongoing commitment, improved the lives of transgender Rhode Islanders.

 

This year, our award recipients are Representative Edith Ajello, who has served as a Rhode Island state representative since 1992 and has, during that time, been an outspoken advocate for the transgender community of Rhode Island as well as the driving force behind the groundbreaking legislation in 2001 that added gender identity to our state’s civil rights law; and Samson Hampton, a dedicated community activist who has consistently been a source of support to his community and has stood up for their right to adequate and affirming healthcare access, life-saving, inclusive social services, and affordable resources. 


Tickets to this event can be purchased here

The RI Trans Health Conference will return on April 28th!

posted Jan 22, 2018, 9:07 PM by TGI Network of RI

On April 28th, 2018, Rhode Island College will host the fourth annual RI Trans Health Conference. This year's theme is Resistance and Resilience, as we strive to empower our local community with the information and tools you need to be strong self-advocates and to build a community movement towards social justice. While our conference focuses on expanding the local network of knowledgable and affirming healthcare providers, we recognize that the health of this community is built on our strength and commitment to one another. 

In this fourth year of the conference, the community track has expanded to include 50% more community members! We on the planning committee are proud to present a comprehensive program that we designed around your requests. We are also excited to have also included a workshop proposal process in preparation for the conference for the first time. We received some fantastic proposals that included topics we haven't covered in previous years and will bring some fresh faces and new ideas

We are also excited introduce our keynote speaker, Justice Gaines! "Justice is a local activist and poet. Xe is an organizer at RI Jobs With Justice fighting for workers' rights as part of a larger social justice movement. Xe also coordinates a Racial Justice Coalition of community organizations throughout the state. Xyr poetryis an extension of xyr activism, exploring the experiences of being a Black trans woman in a post-racial and soon to be post-apocalyptic America."

This year we have also introduced some different ticketing levels for community members are able and interested in helping to financially support the conference. We are committed to providing this conference to our community free of charge, but putting something this comprehensive together is an expensive endeavor! This year, for example, you can choose to buy a ticket that will cover the cost of two meals, which would help us pay for your food as well as that of someone who cannot afford to contribute. Please be aware that we can accommodate 150 community members and registration may close abruptly as that number is reached. 

Rhode Island Trans Health Conference March 4th!

posted Jan 11, 2017, 5:29 PM by TGI Network of RI

TGI Network, along with the Rhode Island College School of Social Work and the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University have announced the 2017 RI Trans Health Conference will take place on March 4th at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine Building (222 Richmond St.) in Providence, RI. Please see the announcement on our homepage for links to the agenda and conference registration. Registration is free for community members. Lunch is included. Space is limited, please register to hold your spot. 

In our first year (2015), we had one room. The day included some basic information sharing, particularly about the state of the healthcare landscape at the time. We offer some time for folks to share their thoughts and feelings and to meet other local trans folks. Last year was the second year of the conference. We moved to RIC and offered a choice of sessions throughout the day. Again, we focused most of our energy on navigating the healthcare system, afterall it *is* a health conference.

This year, however, things are going to be a little bit different. We are returning to Brown Medical School. Though there are still healthcare hurdles to surpass and questions to answer (there will be space for that at the conference), with the changing political landscape, many obstacles we will face as a community are TBD. With that in mind, we are focusing this year's community track on STRENGTHENING THE HEALTH OF OUR COMMUNITY, which means not just looking out for our access to healthcare, but to building a collaborative movement for social change.

Document Changes page updated!

posted Jul 24, 2016, 8:19 PM by TGI Network of RI

Thanks to a community member who provided us with some additional information about documentation changes, we have updated a few sections of this resource. All broken links have also been fixed or updated. Please contact us if you find that any information on this page is not accurate.

Rhode Island says Transgender Health Insurance Exclusions are Prohibited under State Law

posted Dec 1, 2015, 10:18 PM by TGI Network of RI   [ updated Dec 1, 2015, 10:22 PM ]

                                              

 

For immediate release:  November 24, 2015

Contacts: Ethan Huckel, 774-217-0379 Ethan.Huckel@gmail.com;  Carisa Cunningham, 617-426-1350 ccunningham@glad.org

Rhode Island says Transgender Health Insurance Exclusions are Prohibited under State Law

Yesterday, the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner released a bulletin Regarding Prohibited Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Expression. The bulletin is a significant step toward increasing access to critical health care for transgender residents of Rhode Island, who have long been arbitrarily denied coverage for medical treatments related to gender transition.

The guidance states that "denial, exclusion or other limitations of coverage by a health insurer for medically necessary treatment otherwise covered by a health insurance policy or contract based solely on an individual's gender identity, expression or gender dysphoria is sex discrimination prohibited under Rhode Island Law". Insurance regulators in California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, New York, Illinois and the District of Columbia have issued similar bulletins instructing insurers in their respective jurisdictions to cover treatment for transgender patients equitably.

The bulletin is the result of years of advocacy by TGI Network of Rhode Island, Gay & Lesbians Advocates & Defenders and many community partners, to educate state leadership on the needs of the transgender community.

“This is a monumental moment for trans* rights in the state of Rhode Island” stated Ethan Huckel, board president of TGI Network of Rhode Island. “Combined with the announcement about updated Medicaid policies regarding Gender Dysphoria three weeks ago, the state of Rhode Island is sending the message loud and clear that transgender people are valued in our community and that the state will no longer tolerate systemic discrimination in health care access for transgender people. We would like to thank Governor Gina Raimondo for her strong support and leadership on this issue.”

“We applaud the Insurance Commission for helping to remove unprincipled and medically unsound barriers created by insurance companies that keep transgender people from getting the medical they need and deserve,” said Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project.

Rationale for the ruling cited the Affordable Care Act and Rhode Island’s strong non-discrimination laws protecting gender identity and expression which have been in place since 2001; Rhode Island was the second state in the country to enact such protections.

TGI Network of Rhode Island is the only all-volunteer, statewide organization dedicated to providing support and advocacy for the transgender, gender-variant, and intersex (TGI) community in Rhode Island and surrounding areas. Our mission is to serve the needs of the TGI communities in Rhode Island and surrounding areas through support, advocacy, and education.

 

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status and sexual orientation.

# # #

RI Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner releases guidance on Trans Health Insurance Discrmination

posted Nov 23, 2015, 2:20 PM by TGI Network of RI   [ updated Nov 23, 2015, 2:43 PM ]

Today, the Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner released guidance Regarding Prohibited Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and ExpressionTGI Network wants to thank Governor Gina Raimondo for her strong support and leadership on this issue. This guidance is the result of years of advocacy by TGI Network and our many community partners including GLAD, to educate state leadership on the needs of the transgender community. 

The guidance states that "Denial, exclusion or other limitations of coverage by a health insurer for medically necessary treatment otherwise covered by a health insurance policy or contract based solely on an individual's gender identity, expression or gender dysphoria is sex discrimination prohibited under Rhode Island Law".

This is a monumental moment for trans* rights in the state of Rhode Island. Combined with the announcement about updated Medicaid policies regarding Gender Dysphoria 3 weeks ago, the state of Rhode Island is sending the message loud and clear that transgender people are valued in our community and that the state will no longer tolerate systemic discrimination in health care access for transgender people.

More information will be available soon about what this means in practice. For now- read the guidance below.


TGI Network & GLAD Applaud Removal of Medicaid Coverage Exclusions for Transgender Rhode Islanders

posted Nov 6, 2015, 1:42 PM by TGI Network of RI   [ updated Nov 6, 2015, 1:45 PM ]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Ethan Huckel, 774-217-0379 Ethan.Huckel@gmail.com; Carisa Cunningham, 617-426-1350 ccunningham@glad.org

NOVEMBER 6, 2015
TGI Network and GLAD Applaud Removal of Medicaid Coverage Exclusions for Transgender Rhode Islanders

This week, Rhode Island’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that the state’s Medicaid program has removed arbitrary and outdated coverage exclusions for transgender Rhode Islanders.  The new guidance can be read here.

All major national medical and mental health experts, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, have affirmed the medical necessity of providing transition-related treatment for transgender people.  Rhode Island is the 10th jurisdiction to update its Medicaid policy to include medically necessary treatments for its transgender policyholders, joining California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington, New York, and Washington D.C.    

“This change will allow many people to get the care they need. It’s an important step towards addressing the healthcare disparities that impact trans* Rhode Islanders,” said Ethan Huckel of TGI Network. “We applaud HHS Secretary Elizabeth Roberts and Governor Gina Raimondo for their leadership in bringing our Medicaid policy up to date and ensuring that every Rhode Islander has the potential to live a happy, healthy, and productive life.”

“The guidance will be life-saving for transgender Rhode Islanders on Medicaid,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “Unfortunately, all too often transgender people cannot get insurance programs to cover essential medical services.  This guidance should change that.”

While the policy has expanded coverage, it does not address the surgical needs of transgender people under the age of 18; electrolysis, which is often a pre-surgical requirement, or Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) which is needed for true parity between services offered for trans men and those offered for trans women.

Additionally, private health insurance companies in Rhode Island, regulated by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner, are not under the same purview as Medicaid and most plans still include discriminatory outdated coverage exclusions for transgender policyholders. 

“Since Rhode Island’s nondiscrimination law was updated in 2001 to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, we are hopeful that the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner will soon follow suit and issue a public bulletin barring gender identity-based discrimination in private insurance plans,” said Huckel.

# # #


TGI Network of Rhode Island is the only all-volunteer, statewide organization dedicated to providing support and advocacy for the transgender, gender-variant, and intersex (TGI) community in Rhode Island and surrounding areas. Our mission is to serve the needs of the TGI communities in Rhode Island and surrounding areas through support, advocacy, and education.

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status and sexual orientation.

TGI Network Announces Insurance Advocacy Toolkit

posted Jun 9, 2015, 7:43 PM by TGI Network of RI   [ updated Jun 9, 2015, 9:01 PM ]



Dear Business Leaders and Transgender Community Allies,

TGI Network of Rhode Island is the only all-volunteer, statewide organization dedicated to providing support and advocacy for the TGI community in Rhode Island and surrounding areas. Our mission is to serve the needs of the transgender, gender-variant, and intersex (TGI) communities in Rhode Island and surrounding areas through support, advocacy, and education. We seek to be a resource for TGI people navigating their life journeys as well as the legal and medical systems through our own programs and through collaboration with other organizations. In addition, we seek to serve as a resource to professionals working with the TGI community and as a liaison between the TGI and LGBT communities as well as the community at large.

There are an estimated 700,000 transgender individuals in the US and somewhere between 2,000-5,000 transgender people in Rhode Island alone. Very few transgender Rhode Islanders have access to health insurance that is fully inclusive of transgender medical needs, specifically medically necessary, transition related care. Some individuals are able to pay out of pocket for this medically necessary care. Others will choose to use retirement savings, credit cards or high interest medical loans to access care, jeopardizing their financial futures in the process.  Many more individuals, who do not have access to financial resources, will suffer for years (or even decades) through their gender dysphoria without access to medically necessary treatment often resulting in additional physical and mental health complications.

TGI Network sees the provision of fully transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits as a priority concern for our organization and for our community. This is likely to have the largest impact on the greatest number of transgender individuals in Rhode Island. We call on transgender individuals, allies, and loved ones to tell your stories where safe and possible, talk to your employers and share with them this packet so that we may educate them on the need for fully transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits to be available to all Rhode Islanders.

We ask that employers stand with us and become a part of a statewide effort to make fully transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits available to the businesses and organizations who want to include them in their employer sponsored health insurance benefit plans.

            Sincerely,

 

                    Jayeson Watts, LCSW                                                          Trevor Beard
                    Advocacy Committee Chair                                                    Board President

TGI Network Applauds Mayor Elorza and the City of Providence

posted Jun 7, 2015, 4:48 PM by TGI Network of RI

June 7, 2015

For Immediate Release:

Contact: info@tginetwork.org  or call (401) 441-5058

RE: Mayor Elorza Announcing Transgender Inclusive Health Insurance Benefits for City Employees

TGI Network wishes to congratulate Mayor Elorza and the City of Providence on adding transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage to their employee health plans and to thank him for his leadership on this matter. We hope to see other public and private sector employers follow Mayor Elorza’s lead. This simple measure will have a great impact on the lives of trans and gender non-conforming city employees, retirees and their families.

Fully transgender-inclusive health insurance plans are necessary to meet the health care needs of transgender individuals. The plans remove burdensome financial barriers that prevent many transgender people from seeking the medically necessary care that they need. Access to transition-related care, improves the overall quality of life for transgender individuals by increasing confidence and reducing stress.   Offering health insurance plans that include fully transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits affirms the City of Providence’s commitment to a talented and diverse workforce who are valued and treated equally.

There are an estimated 700,000 transgender individuals in the US and somewhere between 2,000-5,000 transgender people in Rhode Island alone. Very few transgender Rhode Islanders have access to health insurance that is fully inclusive of transgender medical needs, specifically medically necessary, transition related care. We call on all employers in the state to follow the lead of the City of Providence to contact their insurance companies and ask for transgender inclusive health insurance benefits to be added to their current plans. We also call on insurance companies to make available in the public market, health insurance plans that include this benefit.

TGI Network of Rhode Island is the only all-volunteer, statewide organization dedicated to providing support and advocacy for the TGI community in Rhode Island and surrounding areas. Our mission is to serve the needs of the transgender, gender-variant, and intersex (TGI) communities in Rhode Island and surrounding areas through support, advocacy, and education.

###

TGI Network Celebrates New Birth Certificate Regulations for Transgender Rhode Islanders

posted Jun 7, 2015, 4:39 PM by TGI Network of RI   [ updated Jun 7, 2015, 4:44 PM ]

November 11, 2014

For immediate Release:

Contact- info@tginetwork.org

TGI Network Celebrates New Birth Certificate Regulations for Transgender Rhode Islanders

Two weeks ago, the Rhode Island Department of Health passed new regulations for transgender individuals who seek to change the gender markers on their Rhode Island birth certificates. Today, we celebrate as those changes officially go into effect. TGI Network of Rhode Island wishes to thank our many leaders and advocates who fought alongside us to make this change possible including Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Youth Pride, Inc., the RI chapter of the ACLU and the RI chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

 “For far too long, transpeople born in Rhode Island, who wished to update the gender marker on their birth certificates, were held to out-dated guidelines requiring surgical treatments that are inconsistent with the Standards of Care for treating transgender individuals”, said Jayeson Watts, a clinical social worker and TGI Network Board Member. “This regulatory change is the result of years of education and advocacy with the Department of Health and I want to thank state officials for their leadership on this issue”. The new regulations will help to align state requirements for updating identity documents with existing policies for updating federal identity documents including US Passports, foreign births of US Citizens and Social Security.

In 2001, Rhode Island became the second state in the nation to pass broad legislation to protect transgender individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations. In 2012, Rhode Island’s Department of Motor Vehicles joined a handful of states by updating our Driver’s License/State ID policies to allow transgender individuals to obtain appropriate documentation that reflect their identities without subjecting them to invasive questions about their personal medical information. And now in 2014, Rhode Island has become one of 7 states who have removed surgery requirements and streamlined the process for updating birth certificates.

In the coming days, TGI Network plans to post details about the new process for updating birth certificates to their website and also to reach out to the medical providers who will be asked to complete the required documentation.

TGI Network of Rhode Island is the state’s only organization solely dedicated to the support, advocacy and education of Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming and Intersex (TGI) individuals and their allies. We offer support groups for TGI individuals, their partners and families. We also hold various social activities throughout the year including an annual summer picnic and a holiday party. For more information, please visit www.tginetwork.org

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Rhode Island's new regulations for updating gender markers on birth certificates goes into effect as of November 11, 2014. The new regulations removed the surgical requirement. We thank our partners at Gay & Lesian Advocates & Defenders for creating this tool kit to help folks navigate the new regulations. You will need to get a letter from a medical provider stating that you have undergone "treatment appropriate for the individual for the purpose of gender transition based on contemporary clinical standards." The tool kit includes model language that medical providers can use to create their letters.

Rhode Island Birth Certificate Tool Kit

http://www.glad.org/rights/toolkit/rhode-island-birth-certificate-tool-kit

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