A recent court settlement in favor of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) will require Georgia to pay state employees’ gender-affirming care.
According to Them, “the Georgia State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) will now cover gender-affirming care for all state employees, their spouses, and any dependents, effective immediately.” Under this settlement, insurance companies like United and Anthem can no longer exclude “sex-change” or “sex transformation” surgeries from their covered care. The plaintiffs involved in the case also received a settlement of $365,000 along with partial coverage of their legal fees.
Three transgender state employees, Micha Rich, Benjamin Johnson and “Jane Doe,” brought the case to the Supreme Court last year arguing the denial of gender-affirming care in their insurance coverage plans violated their Title VII rights, which are protected under Supreme Court ruling Bostock vs. Clayton County. This case sought to set a precedent for the prevention of workplace discrimination based on gender or sexual identity.
Gender-affirming care has been at the center of an onslaught of transphobic legislation introduced throughout the country in recent years. Though this court ruling is a win for transgender individuals in the workforce, Georgia still maintains its ban on gender-affirming care for minors which was introduced in September.
“I am thrilled to know that none of my trans colleagues will ever have to go through what I did,” plaintiff Rich wrote in TLDEF’s statement. “I hope this is a new day for my beloved state of Georgia in its treatment of trans and nonbinary people”
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is a nonprofit with 20 years of experience. TLDEF’s mission is to “end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people, particularly those in our most vulnerable communities.” The organization has worked on many legal cases and even provides pro bono legal name change services to community members through partnerships with some of the nation’s most prominent law firms and corporate law departments in an effort called the Name Change Project. Learn more about TLDEF and their impact here.