A federal jury in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday awarded two transgender state employees $780,500 in damages after a district court found that a ban on insurance coverage for gender-changing surgery amounts to sexual discrimination.
In March 2017 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a complaint on behalf of Alina Boyden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student, and Shannon Andrews, a researcher for UW School of Medicine cancer institution. The complaint posits that the state’s denial of transgender health care was in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act. In September of this year, District Judge William Conley agreed and deemed the exclusion of coverage to transgendered individuals a straightforward case of sex discrimination.
Courts have increasingly ruled against the exclusion of transgender health care, but this is one of the first times a jury has awarded damages for the denial of care. According to the ACLU, “Every major medical organization recognizes that these bans on coverage have no basis in medical science and that transition-related care is effective for the treatment of gender dysphoria.”