Overlooked by Blue Jersey was a perhaps the first ever question in a poll regarding discrimination against transgender people by some insurance companies!
In a new Zogby poll commissioned by Garden State Equality,New Jersey voters say it is unfair for insurance companies to deny coverage for medical treatments vital to gender transition
To see all the questions and answers from the new Zogby Poll –
including on state and national politics and on marriage equality –
Contact: Steven Goldstein, cell (917) 449-8918
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 – In a Zogby poll of New Jersey released today, a clear majority of New Jersey voters believe insurance companies unfairly discriminate against transgender people by not covering the medical treatments vital to gender transition. 52.6 percent said this denial by insurance companies is unfair, while only 35.8 percent said it is fair.
Excluding the 11.6 percent who said they are not sure, 60 percent of respondents who offered an opinion said the denial by insurance companies is unfair.
The poll of 803 likely New Jersey voters was taken from August 7 through August 11, 2008 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. Though Garden State Equality commissioned the poll, Zogby collected the data independently.
The new poll may mark the first time that any poll has asked about the discrimination that a number of insurance companies perpetrate against transgender people.
Even though New Jersey is a worldwide leader in banning discrimination against transgender people – the state’s Law Against Discrimination, hate crimes and anti-school bullying laws all encompass gender identity or expression – a number of insurance companies still refuse to cover medical treatments that doctors deem vital to gender transition. The American Medical Association has said such denials are discriminatory.
“It is outrageous that some insurance companies deny vital health coverage to transgender citizens even though our state outlaws it,” said Barbra Casbar Siperstein, vice-chair of Garden State Equality and political director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey. “Our state must act to ensure that all insurance companies follow the law.”
Since Garden State Equality was founded in 2004, New Jersey has enacted transgender equality laws by some of the largest margins of victory ever for LGBT legislation. In 2006, the legislature amended the state’s Law Against Discrimination to encompass gender identity or expression by a combined Assembly-Senate vote of 102 to 8. In 2008, the legislature enacted a law that amended the state’s hate crimes law to include gender identity or expression – and that also strengthened the state’s anti-school-bullying law – by a combined Assembly-Senate vote of 110 to 10.
“As proud as we are of our record, we will never be complacent in fighting every last shred of discrimination that transgender people face,” said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality. “Not all insurance companies discriminate against our beloved transgender sisters and brothers, but a number certainly do. And to them we say, beware. Your illegal and medically unconscionable discrimination will come to an end.”
Here is the exact question in the Zogby Poll:
New Jersey law prohibits discrimination against transgender citizens – people who identify with a gender different from their birth gender. Nonetheless, a number of insurance companies refuse to cover medical treatments that doctors deem vital to gender transition. Do you consider this denial by insurance companies to be fair or unfair?
Not sure 11.6%
Though there were few demographic and geographic differences in response to the question, Democratic voters and younger voters – as is typical in polling – responded most favorably to the LGBT community. 61.1 percent of Democrats said the insurance companies’ discrimination is unfair, while only 26.9 percent of Democrats said it is fair. 62.1 percent of voters 18 to 29 years old said the insurance companies’ discrimination is unfair, while 30.9 percent of voters 18 to 29 said it is fair.