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Doctor, clinic sued for denying medical care to transgender woman

A doctor and clinic are being sued in federal court — the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Urbana — by Lambda Legal on behalf of Naya Taylor, a transgender woman denied medical care after she requested hormone replacement therapy.

Lambda announced the lawsuit mid-morning on April 16.

The suit alleges a violation of the Affordable Care Act's non-discrimination provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex —which includes gender identity — and requires that clinics receiving federal funds treat transgender patients in the same manner as they would any patient under their care.

“The provisions of the Affordable Care Act are clear: doctors receiving federal funds cannot discriminate in providing patient care just because a person is transgender,” said Kenneth Upton, a senior counsel for Lambda Legal. “Patients such as Naya Taylor place their health and well-being in a doctor’s hands. Ms. Taylor asked for her doctor to provide services similar to those provided to other clinic patients who are not transgender and the doctor and clinic refused, posing a significant risk to Ms. Taylor’s health. The ACA’s non-discrimination provisions were intended to ensure appropriate medical care for transgender people, a community that already faces a disproportionate amount of discrimination, violence and suicide rates.”

Naya Taylor is a transgender woman living in Mattoon, Ill. Dr. Aja Lystila had been Taylor’s primary care physician, but when Taylor requested to start hormone replacement therapy as part of her medically necessary, transition-related healthcare to treat her gender dysphoria, Lystila refused, according to Lambda.

Lystila first claimed she was not experienced in providing hormones to transgender people even though hormone therapy is regularly provided to non-transgender patients in a variety of settings every day.

Later the clinic told Taylor that it “does not have to treat people like you.”

HRT is one of the vital life-saving treatments used to treat gender dysphoria, a recognized, serious medical condition.

The Affordable Care Act — popularly known as Obamacare by both its proponents and opponents — is the first federal civil rights law to prohibit health care providers that receive federal funds from discriminating against any individual on the basis of sex for purpose of providing health services.

That prohibition extends to discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived gender identity of the individuals involved.

The Lambda case is Taylor v. Lystila, and names Lystila and Carle, an integrated group of health care services, as defendants.

A complaint was also filed with the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

“When they said, ‘we don’t have to treat people like you,’ I felt like the smallest, most insignificant person in the world,” said Taylor in a news release. “The doctor and office provide hormone replacement therapy for others at the same clinic, they just refused to do that for me.”

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