Two employees of the University of Wisconsin have filed a federal lawsuit to force the state’s taxpayers to fund the removal of their penises and various other costs which go along with gender reassignment surgery.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is assisting with the lawsuit, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include the University of Wisconsin System and its board of regents, as well as some insurers.
The two plaintiffs are Shannon Andrews, a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and Alina Boyden, a teaching assistant in the anthropology department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Andrews paid for gender reassignment surgery out of pocket and then sought to be reimbursed through insurance but was denied.
Boyden has decided not to have his sex change because his taxpayer-subsidized insurance plan won’t help foot the bill.
There has been no change in Wisconsin law or policy concerning the funding of sex-change operations by taxpayers. The state has not provided such coverage for a long time.
Last year, state officials contemplated using taxpayer funds to sponsor health insurance plans offering sex changes. Ultimately, however, there was no policy change.
The lawsuit claims that health insurance plans offered by the University of Wisconsin system “single out transgender employees for unequal treatment by categorically depriving them of all medical care for gender dysphoria, a serious medical condition codified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and International Classification of Diseases.”
Andrews described the state’s decision not to pay for sex changes as “clearly discrimination.”
“Many people can relate to paying into an insurance plan only to be told that the treatment they need is not covered,” Andrews said in a statement obtained by the Journal Sentinel.
It’s not clear if Andrews believes these “many people” are similarly subjected to discrimination.
A spokesman for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended the state’s policy on providing sex changes at taxpayer expense. The state’s policy “is a reasonable measure that protects taxpayers from funding sex changes for state employees and complies with both state and federal law,” the spokesman, Tom Evenson, told the Journal Sentinel.
The goal of the lawsuit is to convince a federal court to force the state of Wisconsin and its taxpayers to pay for sex changes, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The suit claims that state officials have violated the equal protection rights of Andrews of Boyden as well as their rights under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — more commonly called Obamacare.