Yes, there are transgender civil and foreign service professionals working in foreign affairs agencies! GLIFAA is a welcoming and inclusive home for all gender non-conforming persons no matter where they are on the gender spectrum, be they in gender transition, genderqueer, questioning, or any other flavor of trans*. GLIFAA was in the vanguard of the movement that led to gender identity being included in the non-discrimination statements at the Department of State in 2010, followed soon thereafter by USAID and other agencies. GLIFAA strives to live up to the goals set by the National Center for Transgender Equality in its guidelines on The Nine Keys to Making LGBT Organizations Fully Transgender Inclusive.
Hot News for Trans* Members and Allies!
Removal of the transgender exclusion from Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) medical insurance plans has long been one of GLIFAA’s core issues. GLIFAA therefore welcomes the June 13, 2014, announcement that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will no longer require FEHB insurance carriers to have a blanket exclusion for trans-related care.
As FEHB Open Season for 2015 begins, we urge our members and allies to consider plans that are trans-inclusive. The American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA) worked closely with GLIFAA on trans-inclusive care, and its Foreign Service Benefit Plan is the first national-level plan to offer such coverage. Several other FEHB plans will offer trans-inclusive care in 2015, but others have opted to retain the transgender exclusion. Review plan brochures carefully and use your FEHB selection for 2015 to help GLIFAA in its push to make all FEHB plans trans-inclusive!
GLIFAA’s Transgender Heritage
Past members of GLIFAA include Dr. Chloe Schwenke, the first transgender presidential appointee to a foreign affairs agency. Read her article, A Transgender Perspective, on health insurance issues and the questions that stand before anyone choosing to transition while in an international career. Chloe maintains a web journal devoted to human rights and gender issues at http://chloemaryland.net/blog/.
Robyn McCutcheon, GLIFAA’s president in 2013-14, has several articles and presentations describing what it is like to be a transgender foreign service officer who transitions while posted overseas:
- Gender Transition in the Department of State, Yes You Can!
- Presentation at the 2012 LGBT Workshop at Embassy Tirana
- Transgender in State, a Personal Web Journal
If you have any questions about being transgender or about GLIFAA’s involvement in transgender issues, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to hear from you!