Several plaintiffs are suing North Carolina over transgender rights once again. A few years ago, North Carolina was the center of major criticism when they introduced and passed the infamous transphobic ‘bathroom bill’.
In this new lawsuit, state employees claim the state violated federal law when it stopped covering medically necessary procedures for trans people.
Previously, North Carolina covered hormone treatments and various surgeries meant for people with gender dysphoria.
When Republican State Treasurer Dale Folwell took office in 2017, the state stopped covering them.
Five former and current state employees, as well as two trans dependents, are suing the state over this drop in coverage. They all claim in the lawsuit, filed on Monday (11 March), these treatments are life-saving.
The plaintiffs accused the state of violating the federal Title IX education law, the constitution’s equal-protection clause, and the federal Affordable Care Act by removing the coverage.
Lambda Legal is representing the case.
‘We have to think of it like any medical condition that is treated by a doctor and is diagnosed,’ said Taylor Brown, a lawyer for Lambda Legal.
‘To have to live in a world that perceives you, and that assigns you, as something that you’re not… It can make life unlivable for many people. And that’s why we see such high suicide rates in the transgender community.’
Another legal battle in North Carolina
The state is still embroiled in an ongoing legal battle over the aforementioned bathroom bill.
Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law in March 2016. Many people and groups vocally criticized it. McCrory lost his re-election bid later that year to Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who was a vocal critic of the law.
One year later, in March 2017, lawmakers repealed the bathroom portion of the bill. A federal court later said trans people could use the restroom that corresponds with their gender.
Legislators introduced another law, however, and it stops any new local antidiscrimination ordinances until 2020. In 2018, a federal judge allowed a lawsuit to move forward challenging this newest law.