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Bungie “committed” to addressing demands for trans-inclusive healthcare

Firm working with Trans@Bungie group after designer flags being denied gender-affirming surgery by Destiny studio's health insurance provider

Bungie has said it is "committed to the long-term work needed" to address an issue raised by a trans employee regarding its healthcare.

Senior visual designer Signy Davis posted a letter on Twitter, spotted by Kotaku, describing her experience trying to arrange gender-affirming surgery as recently as June, only to be denied by Bungie's health insurance provider Premera.

This issue has been ongoing for two years, due to "Premera's continued discriminatory practices and Bungie's lack of priority and action," Davis wrote. While she was positive about her experience overall at Bungie, she urged the company and its soon-to-be-parent Sony -- plus the games industry at large -- to address this for the sake of all trans employees.

"I believe in Bungie's commitment toward bettering our inclusion, diversity, and equity," she wrote. "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."

Bungie issued a statement to Kotaku, in which it promised support.

"We are grateful for Bungie employees speaking up on issues that impact them," the company wrote. "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."

Bungie has recently been vocal about many issues in order to raise awareness and take action.

The studio also spoke out against toxic studio cultures in the wake of the Activision lawsuit, although faced allegations of its own a few months later. In response, the CEO promised an investigation and the studio's HR boss stepped down.

Bungie was also the first to speak up on the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn the law protecting abortion rights, and called for action after the May mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.

In the wake of the latter, an employee said: "There will never be a 'muzzle' big enough to stop us from standing up for what's right."

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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