A Man who identifies as a Woman is taking action against his insurance company, which has refused to pay for sex reassignment surgery. Ashlyn Trider, formerly Dustin, 33, said Aetna Life Insurance Company’s refusal to pay for sex reassignment surgery prescribed by her doctor violates Colorado law. A Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’s bulletin B-B.49 states health insurers cannot deny coverage of treatments for transgender policyholders if the same treatments are covered for other policyholders.
Tina M. Carr, a transsexual Unitarian Universalist, lost a lawsuit for employment discrimination against North Shore Long Island Jewish Health Systems, Inc. Carr, who has an externship with the hospital, claimed the hospital told her not to return to her externship. Carr surmised this was because she was in the UU church and was transsexual. As proof of discrimination, she overheard a person say that “he-shes . . . and the gays will need to answer to Jesus some day.” The court found that this single remark, standing alone, was not sufficient to raise a claim of discrimination.
A federal court in New York threw out several claims in a lawsuit filed by a group of transgender people that they were denied health care because New York failed to fully fund the treatment of gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria under the Medicaid program, including refusing surgery for those under 18. The plaintiffs argued that because federal law provides that “an individual shall not … be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any health program or activity” that receives federal funding on the basis of certain criteria, including sex, an exclusion banning minors from receiving treatment violated the law. The court disagreed, noting that the youth exclusion drew distinctions on the basis of age, not sex, and therefore did not violate federal law.
James Hamlett claims he was fired from Newark Public Schools after he transitioned to “Christine.” Oddly, he transitioned in 1983, and acted in a variety of capacities for decades as Christine, including a special program for pregnant girls, guidance counselor and attendance supervisor in the district’s central office. Hamlett was fired after he had to be fingerprinted for a new position, which turned up criminal convictions for shoplifting and marijuana possession. According to a news account, Hamlett claims that the convictions “were related to behavior changes as a result of medical and hormonal treatments she was undergoing to prepare for her reassignment surgery.” Hamlett argued that the fingerprinting was “unfair.”
The lawsuit represents a trend among transgender people, who sometimes argue that anything they did prior to transition should not somehow count in their post-transition lives. The case of Donna/Doug Perry is probably the most egregious example of this. Perry murdered three women “as a man,” but discounted his responsibility for the crimes when he “transitioned.”
BART (California) police have become one of the first police departments in the country to implement a specific policy governing interactions with transgender individuals. No specific problem or complaint spurred the creation of the new policy, but police officials decided to create the policy in an effort to strengthen the department’s relationship with the community, according to BART.
Tameeka Roberts, a lesbian, sued her employer, United Parcel Service, Inc. (“UPS”), for violations of the New York City Human Rights Law, New York City Administrative Code §§ 8–502(a), et seq. (“NYCHRL”). She claimed that she was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her sexual orientation, and that she was retaliated against for complaining about this demeaning treatment. A jury found in favor of Roberts on both counts. The jury awarded to Roberts $25,000 in compensatory damages on each of her two claims, and an additional $25,000 in punitive damages on each claim. The total judgment was $100,000, plus costs. UPS moved (1) to set aside the jury verdict; (2) for judgment of dismissal or a new trial; or, in the alternative, (3) for reduction of compensatory damages; and (4) striking of punitive damages. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied all motions.
We congratulate Roberts on her victory!
The Laramie City Council approved a local anti-discrimination ordinance. It voted 7-2 in favor of the measure that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and access to public facilities such as restaurants. The law does not cover “distinctly private” places of public accommodation, which intends to preserve women-only space.
Laramie is, of course, where Matthew Shepard was murdered by two men, a defining moment in the modern era of Gay rights.