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16

DECEMBER 2014

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

AFSA Scholarship

AFSA.org/Scholar

AFSPA

AFSPA.org

BlueCross BlueShield

Fearless.fepblue.org

Clements Worldwide

clements.com

Embassy Risk Management

Embassyrisk.com

Fishburne Military School

Fishburne.org/learn

The Hirshorn Company

Hirshorn.com/USFS

J. Kirby Simon Trust

Kirbysimontrust.org

Inside A U.S. Embassy

afsa.org/Inside

McGrath Real Estate Services

McGrathRealEstate.com

Stanford HS Summer College

Summercollege.stanford.edu

WJD Management

wjdpm.com

request, its largest health insurance

program has eliminated the “transgender

exclusion” from its plan.

Most health insurance policies o ered

under the Federal Employees Health

Bene ts program exclude services

“related to sex reassignment.” But starting

in January 2015, insurance plans o ered

by the American Foreign Service Protec-

tive Association, the department’s largest

insurer, will no longer exclude those

bene ts.

According to e Washington Post’s “Federal Eye” column, the State Depart

-

ment has asked all of its plans to remove

the transgender exclusion. AFSPA, which

covers almost 30 percent of State Depart-

ment employees, is the rst to comply.

e State Department has identi ed as a priority the human rights of lesbian

,

gay, bisexual and transgender persons

worldwide.

In a statement to the

Post

, Secretary

of State John Kerry explained that the

change is “about fairness and respect for

our employees, but it’s also about show-

ing the world we mean what we say and

say what we mean.”

Kerry continued: “It’s tough to tell

other countries to provide equal opportu-

nity if we’re not living that out ourselves.

So this matters in many ways. I’ve met

transgender colleagues in the depart-

ment and, in addition to being brave and

strong, they’re just good o cers. Why

should they have it any di erent when it

comes to health care?”

—Debra Blome, Associate Editor

Comedian Takes on

Diplomat in Twitter ‘War’

F

ormer U.S. Secretary of State Mad-

eleine Albright verbally sparred with

late-night talk show host and come-

dian Conan O’Brien via Twitter in late

October.

e battle, which Albright later

described on Twitter as “all in good fun,”

began with O’Brien taking the rst shot.

On Oct. 23, O’Brien tweeted “I picked

out my Halloween costume. I’m going

as ‘Slutty Madeleine Albright.’” Albright

didn’t let that pass. “I’m considering

going as hunky Conan O’Brien—but that

might be too far-fetched,” she responded.

e exchange went viral on Twitter

and beyond to the mainstreammedia.

It continued with a few more tweets

between the two.

Albright warned O’Brien: “Never get

into a word war with a diplomat. We talk

even more than comedians.” And O’Brien

conceded: “Damn—whenever I go toe

to toe with @Madeleine Albright, she

always wins.”

n

—Debra Blome, Associate Editor