Federal judge blocks Trump administration erasing protections for trans and non-binary people accessing healthcare

On Monday, Judge Block prevented the Department of Health from enacting a rule which will remove protections for trans people accessing healthcare in America.

A transgender woman in a hospital gown having a conversation with a doctor, a transgender man

A federal judge has prevented the Trump administration from rolling back on protections for trans and non-binary people accessing healthcare in America against discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies.  

On Monday, August 17, Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court in Brooklyn issued an injunction against the Trump administration from excluding gender identities in the Affordable Care Act. He outlined that the new ruling, implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, appeared to be incompatible to a previous Supreme Court case on discrimination in the workplace. 

Judge Block wrote, “When the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact. Since H.H.S. has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the court now imposes it.”

In June 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to cases of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The landmark ruling followed announcements that the Trump administration were rolling back on legal protection for LGBT+ people, including the H.S.S removing protection from discrimination for trans people in healthcare.

Judge Block’s injunction blocked the H.S.S from moving forward with their new rule, which was meant to go into effect on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the Office for Civil Rights told the New York Times the office was disappointed by the decision. 

The judge’s ruling followed a suit filed by two trans women, Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentili, who were represented by the Human Rights Campaign and the law firm of Baker and Hostetler. HRC President Alphonso David said in a press release, “We are pleased the Court recognised this irrational rule for what it is: discrimination, plain and simple. LGBTQ Americans deserve the health care that they need without fear of mistreatment, harassment, or humiliation.”

In a Lambda Legal press release, Senior Attorney and Health Care Strategist Omar Gonzalez-Pagan added, “We congratulate Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker, Cecilia Gentili, HRC and their co-counsel on this important victory in the fight against the Trump administration’s failed public health policy, and we look forward to a decision in our case challenging the health care discrimination rule. The safety and lives of LGBTQ people, but especially transgender people, hang in the balance.”

Further highlighting the impact of Trump’s announcement to rollback on LGBT+ healthcare in America, Conor Courtney recalls the trans people who died as a result of medical discrimination.

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