Transgender women sue over denial of 'gender-confirming surgical care' through Georgia Medicaid

The challenge seeks class action status.

Updated: June 25, 2021 - 4:21pm

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Two transgender women enrolled in Georgia Medicaid are suing because they have been denied "gender-confirming surgical care." 

"Frustratingly, many surgical treatments that are prescribed to treat gender dysphoria are in fact covered by Georgia Medicaid when used to treat non-transgender people for other conditions," the suit states. "In short, Georgia Medicaid is unlawfully discriminating against Ms. Thomas and Ms. Cheney on the basis of their sex and transgender status. Georgia Medicaid’s Exclusion incorrectly characterizes their gender-confirming health care needs as 'cosmetic' and/or 'experimental or investigational,' when the medical community recognizes that they are effective treatments for gender dysphoria. In doing so, Defendants are exposing Plaintiffs to significant and avoidable harms to their health and well-being, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal law."

The challenge seeks class action status. According to the ACLU, the suit was lodged in federal court by the Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project, the ACLU of Georgia and King & Spalding LLP.

"Oftentimes I have felt like giving up because I do not feel complete," said Gwendolyn Cheney, who is one of the plaintiffs in the suit. "I don't feel like who I know I am. It has stopped me from living a full life. My life has not been a free one, it has been hard and difficult. I don't want to just exist. I want to live. I want to be out in the world and be accepted. Having access to this care would give me a chance to actually live as who I am. I want to be all that I can be and I can't be that with gender dysphoria. It's a chance to have a normal life without depression and anxiety."

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