Grindr LLC, a dating app that specializes is connecting the LGBTQ+ community with others, has added benefits for employees seeking to have gender affirmation surgery.
Grindr, which has been working on the benefits for nine months, became available to employees in April. Grindr will partner with healthcare providers in order to provide the surgery. Grindr won’t need to send several letters from psychiatrists that include their mental health history as well as a recommendation to perform the surgery. This is a problem for advocates who claim it places too much burden on patients.
Instead, employees will sign attestations that the surgery is required for them to live according to their gender identity, said Heidi Schriefer, Grindr’s vice president of people and places. Grindr can also pay for hotel accommodations and flight costs for those employees traveling to receive care.
Grindr’s expansion of benefits comes after Tinder owner Match Group Inc. and Bumble Inc. said last year that they would cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions in other states after Texas passed restrictive laws against the procedure. Politico published Monday’s draft majority opinion of the Supreme Court. This would overturn Roe v. Wade which gave women the right to choose most abortions.
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Amy Jie, director of product at Grindr, helped craft the new benefits after her experience transitioning under her former employer’s coverage plan. She said that patients are not eligible for coverage because they lack providers who can be compassionate and knowledgeable about queer patients. Jie had almost 30 letters sent to psychiatrists to receive the insurance letters she needed.
The Center for American Progress’ 2020 Report found that 1 in 3 transgender patients needed to tell their doctor all about them in order to get adequate care. Three in 10 also reported being delayed or prevented from receiving treatment due to discrimination.
“It made me feel like my problems were not ones society cared about,” Jie said. “It’s that ritual humiliation and conditional care that causes such a high percentage of queer people to avoid seeking healthcare.”
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Surgery costs can be very expensive. Schriefer stated that the one-time costs for female-to male surgery range from $180,000 to $200,000, while male-to–female surgeries can run $80,000 to $100,000. Some of Grindr’s new benefits also cover name changes on legal documents, hormone therapy, new wardrobe attire and voice therapy.
While Tinder and Bumble are both LGBTQ+ friendly, Grindr is more popular within the community but it’s facing issues with user privacy as the Wall Street Journal reported that a digital advertiser sold location data that could compromise users’ identities.
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