New York: Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Politics: Disney Won't Help The Detransitioners Its Transgender Activism Encouraged

POLITICS: Disney won’t help the detransitioners its transgender activism encouraged to go under the knife

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Does Disney care about more about the praise of transgender activists or the pain of its employees and their family, including children? 

The answer will become clear at the company’s April 3 annual meeting, when shareholders vote on a proposal my organization filed.

We’re asking the company, which has famously associated itself with the gender-ideology movement, to stop ignoring the significant medical needs of those who’ve tried to reverse their sex transitions.

My group, as a Disney shareholder, filed our proposal with the company in October.

We want the entertainment giant to explain why its health insurance doesn’t include coverage for people who attempt to detransition.

It’s a matter of equal treatment that especially matters as more Americans pursue sex changes they end up regretting, a trend Disney strengthened by so publicly aligning itself with the transgender cause.

Many people who attempt a transition have gender dysphoria, a psychological condition that involves feeling uncomfortable with one’s biological sex.

Rather than get the proper counseling they need to address it, they are generally fast-tracked by medical practitioners into an invasive and often irreversible regimen of drugs and surgeries.

Yet instead of having their bodily discomfort soothed, many find themselves dealing with horrible physical consequences and worse mental-health issues.

My organization has worked with Chloe Cole, who began a gender transition at age 12 and is the patient advocate at the nonprofit Do No Harm.

By age 16, after taking puberty blockers and receiving a double mastectomy, she tried to turn back.

Yet her body has been irreversibly changed and damaged, and years later, her chest is still bandaged.

She will likely be on different medications and need ongoing treatments for the rest of her life.

Detransitioners tell similar stories, and while there’s no good estimate of how many there are, it’s certain the number is growing fast.

But Disney’s health-insurance coverage ignores detransitioners altogether.

Disney is happy to help employees and their family — including children — ruin their bodies.

It has no interest in helping them fix the bodies, despite encouraging them down that ruinous path.

Disney is doing the bidding of a powerful outside interest group — the Human Rights Campaign.

The group’s Corporate Equality Index ranks companies in part on their commitment to transgenderism, and to earn a 100% score, their health-insurance coverage must include gender transitions for employees, family members and dependents.

Disney’s coverage with Cigna, for example, includes the reduction in size of testes, construction of a penis or vagina and various other genitalia-building and -amputating procedures, as well as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

Human Rights Campaign denies there’s a need for restorative care, reflecting the activist community’s belief that detransitioners are anomalous.

Acknowledging their existence — and increasing number — would draw attention to the fact gender transitions are often irreversible, raising awkward questions about the morality of what they’re pushing.

They’re happy to help a young girl cut off her breasts but less thrilled about helping her replace what she’s forever lost.

Disney scores 100% and has effectively admitted it doesn’t cover the cost of detransition treatments.

Most notably, when Disney asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to exclude our shareholder proposal for its annual meeting, it could have stated the proposal is moot because it already covers detransitions.

Instead, Disney tried to exclude it on technical grounds.

The SEC forced the company to keep it. 

Disney management has urged shareholders to oppose our proposal.

But that’s what you’d expect from a company that loudly touts its 100% score.

Management fears losing the coveted designation because negative media coverage will follow, as Anheuser-Busch recently found out.

Disney isn’t alone. The Human Rights Campaign has bestowed 100% scores on 595 corporations.

My organization has filed similar proposals with several of them, including Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo, which have upcoming shareholder meetings.

At its December meeting, Microsoft management urged shareholders to vote against our proposal, which failed to pass.

The company gets to keep its 100% score — and keep ignoring the urgent and lifelong medical needs of a growing class of people.

Whatever happens at Disney, the fight to protect detransitioners will continue.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already made it illegal to discriminate in pay or benefits based on “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” 

As our proposal makes clear, that language includes detransitioners, even if companies like Disney and transgender activists don’t like it or deny their existence.

If Disney shareholders don’t give these suffering people their due April 3, it’s only a matter of time before a new presidential administration or courts force them.

Detransitioners are people too, and it’s time Disney and every other company acknowledged their pain instead of blindly seeking activist praise.

Paul Chesser is director of the Corporate Integrity Project for National Legal and Policy Center.

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