Appeals court rules gender dysphoria covered under Americans With Disabilities Act

Ruling could open the way for expanded transgender government benefits, protections.

Updated: August 25, 2022 - 1:02pm

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An appeals court this week ruled that "gender dysphoria" is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, a decision which could significantly expand protections for transgender-identifying individuals throughout the United States. 

Gender dysphoria is a medical condition in which individuals feel an incongruence between their sex and their self-perceived "gender identity." The classification of the syndrome has gone through several revisions within the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A panel at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., earlier this month became the country's first federal appellate court to rule that the condition is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, a 1990 law that dictates protections and privileges for disabled Americans around the country. 

The ruling came after an individual who identifies as a "transgender woman" brought a lawsuit against a Virginia sheriff when the individual in question was housed with male prisoners after being arrested.

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