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Concerns remain for transgender benefits

Rochester, N.Y. -- Rochester joined Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. in extending city benefits to transgender employees looking to change genders.

Since the announcement Saturday night, there have been two different reactions to the news.

Scott Fearing, executive director of Gay Alliance, has been working with Mayor Lovely Warren and Councilmember Matt Haag to give city employees benefits for transgender procedures.

But not everyone is happy about the decision. 13WHAM News spoke with Jerry Houston, a local minister, who said the state should not indulge the needs of transgender employees.

"God said from the beginning he made the male and female," said Houston. "And for the state to indulge in these kinds of things, I believe you are supporting and spouting something that's going to cause a lot of problems, not just for Rochester, but for our country in general."

But Fearing said it's not a religious issue, but an issue of health care needs.

Cost is also a concern raised by some, but Haag insisted the insurance expenses are small, along with the number of city employees who need the treatment. Fearing told 13WHAM News only .3 percent of the population is transgender.

The benefits will be available to transgender employees in January 2015.

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Washington Times