Federal judge rules employers cannot deny gender affirming care – JURIST

A US federal judge in Georgia Thursday ruled that employers who exclude gender-affirming medical care from their healthcare insurance coverage violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anna Lange, a sheriff’s deputy, brought the case against her boss, Cullen Talton, and Houston County, Georgia. Lange, who began her gender transition in 2017, was unable to get coverage approved for her to receive gender-affirming care under the health insurance plan provided by her employer. In her complaint, she argued that the health plan adopted was discriminatory; the county and Talton “knowingly and intentionally thing to adopt and maintain the [policy].” She said she made a repeated request to remove or waive the policy.

Lange, who was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, had a doctor recommend gender-affirming treatment to her. However, the insurance plan Lange had excluded treatment for gender dysphoria, including talk therapy, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery.

In the order, Judge Marc Treadwell cites the US Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, where the court held that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 discrimination against a transgender person is unlawful. The order states that “the involvement of Bostock is clear […] Bostock covers any possible intended point—discrimination on the basis of transgender status is discrimination on the basis of sex and is a violation of Title VII.”

After the decision, Lange said:

[It is] a huge relief to know that I can finally receive the medically necessary care that I was repeatedly and unfairly denied. I can confidently move forward with my life knowing that gender affirming care is protected under federal law. This decision is not only a personal victory, but a tremendous step forward for all transgender Southerners who are seeking insurance coverage for medically necessary care.

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