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Destiny Dev Demands Bungie Support Trans-Inclusive Health Care

The folks who make our games want more out of employers than empty words

Bungie senior visual designer Signy Davis recently shared a blistering message on Twitter demanding that her company, along with the gaming industry at large, throw much-needed support behind inclusive health care for transgender workers.

The post, titled “Eyes up, Guardian” after a popular Destiny quote, calls on Bungie and parent company Sony to reevaluate their relationship with health insurance company Premera when it comes to employee benefits. Davis, who joined Bungie in early 2021 and designed Destiny 2’s trans pride emblem, calls Premera’s consistent denial of gender-affirming surgery “dehumanizing,” even if her general experience as a trans woman at Bungie has been positive.

“I am tired of seeking care and receiving trauma instead,” Davis wrote. “Bungie and the industry need to act now, together, to secure equal treatment and health care access for transgender and gender-expansive people. This must be a priority. This is an opportunity for Bungie and the industry to demonstrate that their transgender and gender-expansive employees matter, to listen, and act to combat this blatant discrimination.”

Here’s the full text:

The medical insurance industry’s continued discrimination against transgender and gender-expansive people is actively harming myself and fellow Bungie employees. Bungie and the industry need to do more and must make this a priority.

I’ve spent the last two years of my life fighting “cosmetic only” denials for gender-affirming surgery, including a needed surgical revision denial as recent as June 2, because of Premera’s continued discriminatory practices and Bungie’s lack of priority and action. Premera and other health insurance companies across the country have and continue to dehumanize trans and gender-expansive people when seeking life-saving care. I’m privileged to live in one of the best states in the country for trans health care, and yet myself and many others have to continually fight for fair and equal treatment.

I believe in Bungie’s commitment toward bettering our inclusion, diversity, and equity. This commitment is reflected in the kindness, professionalism, and friendship I’ve been shown since my first day on the job. I want to grow at Bungie and make career-defining work. But I can’t while I’m actively fighting for my life. I can’t be hopeful for my future while our health insurance continues to deny my humanity.

I know many people at Bungie care about this issue and are doing their best to right this wrong. I am thankful for the open and ongoing conversations I’ve had and hope to continue having with Bungie HR. But major gaps of coverage and the medical insurance industry’s repeated attempts to erase transgender people is actively harming me and my fellow coworkers now, today. I am tired of seeking care and receiving trauma instead. I recognize this is a complex and multi-layered problem, but I hope for change and soon. Bungie and the industry need to act now, together, to secure equal treatment and health care access for transgender and gender-expansive people.

This must be a priority.

This is an opportunity for Bungie and the industry to demonstrate that their transgender and gender-expansive employees matter, to listen, and act to combat this blatant discrimination.

Lives are at stake.

In hope and kindness,

Signy

Kotaku contacted both Bungie and Sony for more information on their efforts to provide workers with more trans-inclusive health care but didn’t hear back before publication.

Medical procedures like gender-affirming surgeries are often considered life-saving due to how they improve the health of those with gender dysphoria, which is the trauma caused from someone’s gender identity not aligning with the sex they were assigned at birth. A recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that gender-affirming surgeries contributed to a 42 percent reduction in psychological distress and a 44 percent reduction in suicidal ideation.

Not only that, but merely existing as a trans person is only becoming more dangerous in the United States thanks to the rise of fascist, anti-trans legislation across the country. While material benefits may affect corporate bottom lines, the time for a “thoughts and prayers” approach to LGBTQ+ liberation is rapidly coming to an end. We need to see more from these ostensibly supportive employers than some in-game swag or Twitter hashtag because, as Davis notes at the end of her call to action, lives are at stake.

Update 07/12/2022 7:26 p.m. ET: Bungie provided Kotaku with the following statement:

We are grateful for Bungie employees speaking up on issues that impact them. We have had an employee reach out internally to share their lived experience and that it was important to them to also share publicly to help create awareness for this issue. We support them and appreciate their willingness to engage with us to address the issues that they and other trans/non-binary employees have faced when pursuing gender-affirming care.

We are committed to the long-term work needed to address the issues raised. We have been engaged in conversations with many of our employees who are a part of Trans@Bungie to center their experiences to inform and shape that work.

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