MADISON, Wisc. — A jury has awarded $479,500 and $301,000 to two male employees at the University of Wisconsin after a judge ruled that the State violated federal anti-discrimination law by excluding “sex change”-related operations from insurance coverage.
The jury reached its decision on Wednesday in considering how much should be allotted to a researcher at the Carbone Cancer Center who goes by the name Shannon Andrews, and a teaching assistant and graduate student who goes by the name Alina Boyden, as they had requested compensatory and emotional damages from the State.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Andrews paid $79,000 out-of-pocket for two operations, and Boyden paid approximately $1,000 for hormones. Both Andrews and Boyden addressed the jury of eight in presenting their case.
“[Growing up], there were no trans people who were publicly out. There were no trans characters on T.V. who were not villains or monsters or victims. There were no trans people in the news who were presented as the sort of people you could aspire to be like or look up to,” Andrews stated, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. “So for most of my life I felt like a solitary freak. In fact, up until I was in my teenage years in high school, I thought I was the only person who was like me.”
He said that felt alienated again when the State wouldn’t cover his operations years later.
“You’re put through some of these same things,” Andrews stated. “The State or others in positions of authority will say, ‘Your identity is not real. You can’t possibly be suffering. The suffering that we put you through wasn’t really that serious.'”
As previously reported, Judge William Conley, appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, ruled last month that excluding “sex change”-related operations from coverage violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and “anti-discrimination provision” of the Affordable Care Act.
He contended that “the exclusion implicates sex stereotyping by limiting the availability of medical transitioning, if not rendering it economically infeasible, thus requiring transgender individuals to maintain the physical characteristics of their natal sex.”
The State had argued that taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the operations of those who wish to present themselves as the opposite sex, and that providing such coverage could encourage residents who are unhappy with their bodies to obtain the operations.
Wisconsin’s Department of Employee Trust Funds had viewed the procedures as not being medically necessary, but decided in 2016 to change its policy due to a clause in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that prohibits discrimination based on sex.
However, just two days before the allowance was to take effect, the department reverted to its original exclusion of “[p]rocedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment.”
Therefore, Andrews and Boyden sought right to sue letters from the EEOC, and with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, the two filed a legal challenge to seek an injunction, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
“Depriving transgender people of access to transition-related care is discrimination and we are pleased the jury awarded Shannon and Alina the money they need to cover their care and for the harm they suffered,” Larry Dupuis, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin, remarked in a statement on Thursday. “Discrimination comes with a cost, and for the State of Wisconsin the bill has come.”
The Wisconsin Department of Justice told the Wisconsin State Journal that it is “evaluating [its] next steps, which may include an appeal.” The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board had already voted, prior to last month’s ruling, to make the coverage available effective Jan. 1, 2019.
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are born with the Adamic sin nature, and have various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, being “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3) and utterly incapable of changing themselves. It is why Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God,” he declared. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
“Bitter experience teaches that the imprisoning net clings too tightly to be stripped from our limbs by our own efforts. Nay rather, the net and the captive are one, and he who tries to cast off the oppression which hinders him from following that which is good is trying to cast off himself,” also wrote the late preacher and Bible commentator Alexander Maclaren.
“But to men writhing in the grip of a sinful past, or paralyzed beyond writhing and indifferent, because [they are] hopeless, or because they have come to like their captivity, comes one whose name is ‘The Breaker,’ whose mission it is to proclaim liberty to the captives, and whose hand laid on the cords that bind a soul, causes them to drop harmless from the limbs and sets the bondsman free.”
“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” reads Romans 7:24. “I thank God [it is] through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”