Quick Hit: Oregon Sued for Denying Insurance Coverage to Transgender Man

Our friends at Lambda Legal filed a suit against the state of Oregon on behalf of a 42 year-old transgender man, Alec Esquivel. The outcome of the case would have great ramifications for transgender people in Oregon. The suit claims that the state violates its own nondiscrimination law when it denied Esquivel insurance coverage for a medically necessary hysterectomy.

Esquivel is undergoing hormone replacement therapy as part of his transition. Generally, hormone replacement therapy places transgender men at a higher risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, requiring a hysterectomy. Denying Esquivel’s hysterectomy, Lambda Legal claims, infringes on Oregon’s law prohibiting employers from denying insurance coverage on the basis of gender identity.

Dru Levasseur, Esquivel’s attorney, told the Associated Press, “We are asking the court to apply the same law to itself […] There should be no discrimination barriers to getting that care.”

NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s recent report on transgender discrimination Injustice at Every Turn reveals that only 51 percent of transgender people have access to employer-based insurance coverage compared to 58 percent of the general population.  19 percent of transgender people are not covered at all, higher than the national average  of 16 percent.  Esquivel’s case shows that having healthcare does not guarantee either coverage or competent care.

Read the full story here.


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