Trans* individuals are particularly economically vulnerable due to rampant discrimination in job, housing, and numerous other contexts. 47% of trans individuals report being discriminated against in hiring, firing, and promotion; over 25% reported losing a job due to discrimination on the basis of their gender identity. Adding to their costs, instead of helping them achieve economic empowerment, trans* folks suffer particularly burdens in the insurance and financial services contexts.
The Insurance Gap:
In America–where the cost of medical services is high, cost is defrayed using private insurance, and remaining cost are passed onto patients–gaps where insurance policies fail to cover costs produce the need to incur considerable debts. Trans* and gender non-conforming Americans are disproportionately effected: policies routinely do not cover fertility, hormone therapies, transition surgeries, and other so-called “elective” medical procedures.
At times, patients forego the treatments they need because of their lack of means. Or, in order to get the treatments they deserve, patients also incur medical debts to providers. They may also seek out medical loans from private lenders, comparable to personal loans. In payment of such debts, or in order to avoid them, patients also pay using their credit lines: credit cards, home equity loans, mortgages.26 The high cost and interest of unfairly burdensome subprime debts deprive individuals and their communities of funds which could be used for other obligations.
Trans* and gender non-conforming people should not have to wait, or else pay a pay a premium for their necessary medical services. Low-interest financing options could help relieve burden on patients and enable them to obtain treatment today, confident they can afford it tomorrow.
I feel discriminated against for being transgender. My voice sounds like a female but my name is typically used for boys ; therefore they always deny service and ask me to go the branch and present photo ID. -- CFPB Consumer Complaint
Trans* individuals frequently have difficulties producing official government documents which accurately represent their gender identity or their current name. In current banks and credit unions, trans* folks risk of disparate treatment on account of their visibility or the disclosure of their identity to staff persons. They also risk the disparate impact created by financial institutions undifferentiated procedures: denying applications due to insufficient identification or credit history, or an inability to reconcile documents bearing different names.
Wrongful denials of applications for services or credit due to insufficient practices in financial services should not continue to hold back trans* and gender non-conforming individuals. They should no longer fear embarrassment and painful discrimination by their bank.
A bank or credit union offering well-trained and educated staff, familiar with the obstacles which trans* and gender-nonconforming individuals face, could both help rebuild their trust with financial services and help them achieve greater financial success through improved access to beneficial services.