Transgender rights group sues state over care limitation

OutFront Minnesota is challenging the state's more than 10-year-old law.

OutFront Minnesota is challenging the state's more than 10-year-old law.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota gay rights advocacy group and a transgender man are seeking to overturn the state’s bar on public health programs covering gender reassignment procedures in a lawsuit filed Thursday, arguing that ban treats transgender men and women as inferior.

OutFront Minnesota challenged the state’s more than 10-year-old law on behalf of Evan Thomas, a 63-year-old who began identifying as a man in 2013 but was denied surgery to remove breasts earlier this year. Thomas is on Medical Assistance, one of the state’s subsidized health care programs for low-income residents. He was granted a legal name and gender change in July.

The organization argues the ban on public funds going toward gender reassignment surgeries and therapies unfairly singles out residents with gender dysphoria, a condition in which people feel the opposite of their biological sex.

OutFront said it’s unjust that a woman suffering a different condition would have a breast removal surgery or hysterectomy covered through the state, while a person born as a woman suffering gender dysphoria would be denied the same treatment.

“When a law makes state financial assistance available for medically necessary surgery in some instances, but denies state assistance for that same or substantially equivalent surgery when the purpose is to treat gender dysphoria, such a law is perceived as a state-sanctioned badge of inferiority, and further fuels the stigma affecting the transgender community,” the lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court said.

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