TLDEF Files Brief in Mother’s Lawsuit Against Employer Denying Son Transition Related Health Care

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-9-14-52-amNew York, NY—Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) has filed a friend of the court brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in support of a Minnesota mother fighting for health coverage for her teenage transgender son. Brittany Tovar sued her employer (Essentia Health) and her health plan administrator (HealthPartners) alleging they discriminated against her when they denied her son medically necessary transition healthcare.

In the brief, joined by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and Whitman Walker Health, TLDEF advises the Court that state and federal employment nondiscrimination laws as well as the Affordable Care Act prohibit transgender exclusions in employer provided health plans. Drawing from decades of medical research and court precedents, TLDEF argues that transition related healthcare is medically necessary and that transgender specific exclusions are “patently discriminatory.” TLDEF’s brief also points out that transgender exclusions have the effect of treating transgender people worse than nontransgender people since many of the treatments associated with gender transition, such as hormone therapy and reconstructive surgery, are typically covered when sought by nontransgender people.

The underlying case on appeal is Brittany Tovar v. Essentia Health and HealthPartners (Case No. 16-3186), now pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Read a copy of the brief here.
Statement from TLDEF Staff Attorney Ezra Young:

“We filed this brief to make clear that trans people deserve to be fully embraced as members of our civil society. That includes having the same opportunity to obtain medically necessary  healthcare. Transgender Americans are subject to staggering rates of discrimination and stigma. Transgender healthcare exclusions are a primary cause. These exclusions compromise transgender people’s health and well being and open us up to further health risks. We will continue to fight for the right of transgender Americans to access the vital care they need and hope this case will result in a victory for Brittany Tovar and her son.”

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