The most transgender-friendly companies in America

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America still has a long way to go when it comes to transgender inclusion in the workplace, but some companies are championing the way by instituting policies and practices that embrace diversity.

"There are literally hundreds of major businesses that have adopted gender identity protections, gender transition guidelines, and, increasingly, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits," Deena Fidas, head of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's Workplace Equality Program, and co-author of the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), tells Business Insider.

The CEI rates almost 4,500 American companies and organizations on their policies, benefits, and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.

Of the more than 300 companies that earned a top CEI score of 100% in 2015, 72 stood out as the best companies for promoting workplace equality for transgender employees.

The following companies offer the most transgender-inclusive health insurance policies; cover gender identity in non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies; have LGBT employee resource groups, provide diversity training on sexual orientation and/or gender identity; have a diversity council; publicly support LGBT equality under the law; don't engage in corporate action that would undermine the goal of LGBT equal rights; and provide gender transition guidelines:

The Most Transgender Inclusive Companies in America

According to Fidas, some of the earliest adopters of transgender-inclusive health insurance policies or the inclusion of gender identity in non-discrimination policies include Aetna, American Airlines, Apple, JP Morgan Chase, and Nike.

More recently, she said, businesses like CIGNA have created innovative programming like its LGBT diversity organization to foster transgender inclusion in the everyday workplace environment.

These kinds of initiatives are especially important considering the many barriers transgender people face in the working world.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 90% of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it; 47% percent said they had experienced an adverse job outcome like being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming; and twice as many transgender individuals experience unemployed compared to the rest of the population.

"Employers that take meaningful steps to facilitate greater transgender inclusion in their workplaces, from non-discrimination protections to inclusive benefits, are not just doing the right thing for workers, but they are strategically setting themselves apart from other companies competing for talent and innovation," Fidas says.

"Comprehensively addressing transgender inclusion is critical to remaining relevant as broader social attitudes, as well as legal mandates, continue to advance."

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