Daily Fix: Insurance Companies Really Have to Cover Your Birth Control Now and More News Stories

Hey catfish! I caught some good headlines for you!

Three Cheers For These Policies!

+ Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an emergency order on Sunday to protect nail salon workers in New York after The New York Times published an investigation of exploited nail salon workers who face serious illnesses and cancer from high exposure to the chemicals they use every day. In a statement, Cuomo said “a new multiagency task force will conduct salon-by-salon investigations, institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six-language education campaign to inform them of their rights.” Nail salons that don’t comply with the new orders to pay back workers’ wages or are unlicensed will be shut down. The measures are effective immediately. Under the new rules, manicurists are required to wear gloves and face masks, even though studies have found they do little to prevent health hazards from the chemical exposure. The rules may change depending on the state’s Health Department findings on the most effective safety measures. Many workers in the nail salon industry are undocumented people who speak Korean, Chinese and Spanish, which make it hard for them to speak up about work place abuses. The agencies involved in the new task force won’t be inquiring about their immigration status and will also be implementing an education campaign through community groups that informs workers about their rights.


+ Insurance companies must cover all FDA-approved forms of birth control free of charge or co-payments, the Obama administration announced Monday in a series of guidelines. In recent weeks, organizations like Planned Parenthood and the National Women’s Law Center and members of Congress have pressured the administration to clarify the issue. Although the Affordable Care Act includes coverage of all forms of birth control, studies — including ones from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Women’s Law Center — discovered that insurance companies have found loopholes, forcing women to pay more or choosing other alternatives than their preferred birth control method. The guidelines also noted that insurance companies must cover preventative services for trans people that a provider deems medically appropriate. In other words, insurance companies can’t deny or charge trans people for “sex-specific recommended preventative services” because of their gender identity or sex assigned at birth.

Mother Hens

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Mexico City on Mother’s Day to protest femicides, the mass murder of women, and disappearances of their children since the start of the drug war. This is the fourth year in a row demonstrators have protested. The march ended in a rally at the Angel of Independence monument, where mothers from all over the country demanded the government do more to help victims. More than 22,000 Mexicans have disappeared since 2007, many of them women. Fusion reports: “According to an investigation by Mexican newspaper El Universal, women account for 70 percent of disappeared Mexicans between the ages of 13 – 19 in the State of Mexico.”

via Fusion

via Fusion

+ The mother of 12-year-old Alyssa Morgan, who died by suicide in April, spoke out against school leadership because she says they didn’t do enough to protect her from repeated bullying, in part for being bisexual. Nicole Morgan told local news media her daughter would come home crying all the time and would self-harm.

“When you have other people telling you that you’re not worthy of anything, or that being bisexual is wrong or somehow disgusting. … They’re going to take that into thought — that maybe I wasn’t right for this world.”

This isn’t the first time a bullied LGBT student died by suicide in the school district. Two years ago, 16-year-old AJ Betts died by suicide and endured anti-gay bullying.

Order in the Court

+ Victoria Ramirez, a trans woman from California, is suing her former employer Barnes & Noble after the management refused to allow her present as a woman and then fired her when she didn’t comply, according the the Transgender Law Center. Ramirez had worked at her local Barnes & Noble for six years when she told her managers she was transitioning but they soon barred her from wearing women’s clothing, discussing her transition with coworkers, using female pronouns, or using the women’s restroom. After complying with her managers, Ramirez suffered severe anxiety and panic attacks which led her to telling them she could no longer hide herself. They subsequently fired her.

“I loved my job at Barnes & Noble,” Ramirez told the Law Center. “I put myself through college working there. I thought this company shared my values of hard work, integrity, and respect for all people. But when I came out as transgender, they didn’t live up to those values — instead they responded by mocking me and forcing me to hide who I really am.”

The Advocate reports: “The Law Center’s executive director Kris Hayashi notes that Ramirez’s experience is ‘particularly disturbing’ when considering how proudly Barnes & Noble has touted its ‘perfect score’ on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the past seven years.”

+ I think you all will be relieved to hear a federal judge dismissed a Nebraska woman’s lawsuit against all “homosexuals.” Thank god we dodged that bullet, y’all. Basically it was dismissed because the woman wasn’t asking for anything or any relief from all gay people. The lawsuit also failed to define the jurisdiction of the case which means the woman had no reason to sue all homosexuals besides a bunch of Bible verses condemning homosexuality.

Bad News

+ The largest and first international study of LGB athletes in team sports finds the U.S. is the most homophobic compared to other English-speaking countries including the U.K., Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The study called “Out On The Fields” surveyed 9,500 people, including more than 2,000 Americans, and found that 84% said they’ve witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports. Of the athletes who experienced it themselves, 29% of men and 19% of women said they were threatened.

+ Days after 15-year-old Cameron Langrell announced she was trans on Facebook, she died by suicide on May 1. The teen girl was bullied at her Wisconsin high school for appearing “feminine” her mother Jamie Olender told local news media. Olender said her daughter started to skip school a lot to avoid being harassed but then would come home and be bullied online. When Langrell’s parents asked to speak with school officials about the bullying, they say they didn’t receive a response. Now Langrell’s parents want the school to be more proactive and take a stand against bullying.

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.


  1. I’ve been a little uncomfortable with all this fuss around the Nebraska lawsuit. While I get that the idea of suing every queer person ever is hilarious, my assumption would be that she may struggle with mental illness and it feels kind of thoughtless to parade the story around laughing at her.

  2. From the picture on the home page I thought the birth control pack was a tiny snake so I was excited but confused, but I like this article, even without baby snakes.

    • Baby snakes are clickbait? Maybe it’s just because I’m gay, but I’m thoroughly disturbed by snakes of any sort (reptilian or phallic). But YDY. :)

  3. Thanks for writing about Cameron Langrell, that made me really sad and I was hoping we’d mention it.

  4. I’ve been following the Nail Salon expose with trepidation out of concern for my friend.

    I’m an American expat in Cambodia. I have a Cambodian friend whose husband actually won the green card lottery (!) a few years ago. He’s essentially an unskilled worker with very little English and has been working in bakeries and other low-skilled jobs around California for the past few years. About a year ago he returned for a month’s visit to marry his sweetheart, who isn’t allowed to join him until he’s been in the U.S. for 5 years. Meanwhile, he told his wife, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and halting but understandable English, to learn manicurist skills here in Cambodia because that’s likely what she’ll be doing when she joins him in the U.S. Well, she wasn’t too crazy about it, but she enrolled at a beauty school and regularly posts pictures of her handiwork online.

    She has done pretty well for herself here in Cambodia. Like most Cambodians, she grew up on a subsistence farm, then moved to the capital for school and work. She makes a meager but liveable wage, supports the education of her younger siblings and makes frequent trips back to her parents’ farm in the countryside to help out and spend time with her niece. She has big hopes for a life in the U.S. and I worry that she doesn’t comprehend what kind of life she’s going into as two low-skilled immigrants with limited English thousands of miles from home…though there doesn’t seem to be much I can say that dampens her enthusiasm.

    I’ve never been the kind of girl who goes to nail salons, but I’ve always known of their seedy reputation. After reading the expose I was even more concerned, then relieved and impressed when I read about New York’s swift response, but now uneasy when I think about what these overhauling new changes and regulations might do to the job market in this field – not just New York but nationwide – and what that might mean for the future employment opportunities for my friend.

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