Delegates at this week’s AMA annual meeting in Chicago took several actions that furthered the association’s work towards helping members of the LQBTQ community.
Modifying family and medical leave policies
The first action calls for AMA to advocate for Family and Medical Leave Act policies to include any person related by blood or affinity “whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship,” such as partners, spouses and relatives of LGBTQ workers.
Several states and Washington, D.C., have already expanded their Family and Medical Leave Act beyond the federal requirements to meet a model that also provides benefits to “chosen family, domestic partners and individuals who are dependent or mutually interdependent on the employed individual,” according to an AMA press release.
“Physicians understand the day-to-day challenges and rewards for individuals who are helping to care for a loved one who needs help,” AMA Immediate Past Chair Patrice A. Harris, MD, said in the release. “The new AMA policy signals that physicians support the need and benefit of policies for family and medical leave that are inclusive of LGBTQ workers.”
In the second action, AMA delegates urged that prisons change their housing policies to allow transgender prisoners to be placed in the jail indicative of their affirmed transgender status, even if the prisoner’s non-, pre- or post-operative status, genitalia, hormonal treatment, or chromosomal makeup suggests otherwise.
The Association also suggests that “facilities housing transgender prisoners shall not be a form of administrative segregation or solitary confinement,” a second press release stated.
“The problem facing the safety and health of transgender prisoners is severe and well documented,” Harris said in the second press release. “Transgender prisoners are disproportionately the victims of sexual assault, suffering higher rates of sexual assault than general population inmates. The new AMA policy acknowledges that the increased rate of violence largely stems from transgender prisoners being housed based on their birth sex, and not according to their affirmed gender.” – by Janel Miller
Healio Family Medicine was unable to confirm Harris’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.