ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A legislative librarian for the State of Alaska who was born male but identifies as female has sued the State after being informed that “AlaskaCare does not cover gender reassignment surgery.”
The 36-year-old librarian, who goes by the name Jennifer Fletcher, obtained the desired operations last year, but ended up paying out of pocket.
“This diverted financial resources that … Fletcher would have been able to use to pay off … student loans and other debt,” the legal challenge, filed by the homosexual and transgender advocacy group Lambda Legal, reads.
It contends that AlaskaCare’s blanket exclusion of surgeries relating to gender dysphoria, in deeming such procedures to be medically unnecessary, deprives Fletcher and others of “equal dignity” and sends a message that “Fletcher’s worth as an employee is lesser than others, since the exclusion deprives [him] of compensation that other employees receive.”
In its health care plans, AlaskaCare specifically cites under its medical benefit exclusions section that coverage does not include “[a]ny treatment, drug, service or supply related to changing sex or sexual characteristics, including: [s]urgical procedures to alter the appearance or function of the body.”
Fletcher asserts that the operations are necessary, noting that those diagnosed with gender dysphoria suffer distress and anxiety, and sometimes contemplate suicide.
In March 2017, Fletched filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the matter, and was granted permission to sue the State this year. The EEOC determined that “categorical exclusion of gender reassignment treatment and services from its health plan results in the adverse treatment of [the State’s] employees based on sex (including gender identity), in violation of Title VII.”
“By excluding coverage ‘related to changing sex or sexual characteristics’ from AlaskaCare, the State of Alaska has drawn a classification that discriminates based on gender nonconformity, gender identity, transgender status, and gender transition,” Fletcher’s lawsuit argues.
He is seeking a declaratory judgment that the State’s policy violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, nationality and religion, as well as compensatory damages for emotional distress, embarrassment, financial harms and other forms of stated suffering.
As previously reported, Walt Heyer, a man who identified as a woman for eight years until he became regenerated by the Spirit of God, wrote an article in 2017 remarking that allowing those with gender dysphoria to conform their bodies to their psychology does not solve the underlying problem.
“Too many U.S. medical practitioners direct all gender-distressed people toward the extreme measures of conforming the body to the mind, rather than exploring the psychological issues that lie beneath the feelings,” he stated. “Giving powerful hormones and recommending radical surgeries without screening for psychological issues first causes great harm to the patients and their families.”
“Many people who are regretful and suicidal followed to the letter the generally accepted treatment protocol of doctor-prescribed hormone therapy and genital surgery,” Heyer, who now helps those with sex-change regret, outlined. “It is not homophobic, transphobic, or bigoted to look at the causes of dissatisfaction and suicide among the transgender population. Rather, it is a caring, heartfelt way to prevent dissatisfaction and suicides.”