UNC Employees Sue North Carolina Over Transgender Rights Violations
Five current and former state employees, including those that work for the University of North Carolina System, are suing the state of North Carolina for violating the constitutional rights of its transgender community.
According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit filed on Monday alleges the state of violating constitutional rights and federal laws by not covering the cost of surgeries and hormone treatments under its state health plan.
“Untreated gender dysphoria often intensifies with time,” the lawsuit states. “The longer an individual goes without adequate treatment, the greater the risk of severe harms to the individual’s health.”
While the state health plan, which provides benefits for approximately 720,000 people, covered transition procedures for transgender people in 2017, the same coverage was excluded from the plan since Republican State Treasurer Dale Folwell took office.
UNC-Chapel Hill employee Max Kadel, a transgender man and one of the litigants in the suit, alleged the state of not covering the cost of various surgeries for transgender people that would otherwise be covered for non-transgender men or women.
“This kind of treatment and discrimination is unlawful,” Taylor Brown, the lawyer leading the case, told ABC. “The idea that because it only effects a certain number of people, that wouldn’t be a rationale for excluding that, that wouldn’t stand, it wouldn’t stand in court and it wouldn’t stand morally for the North Carolina state health plan.”
Meanwhile, the State Treasurer’s office has declined to comment on the litigation as long as it remains pending.