August 7, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
Buzzfeed has the news that in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, discrimination against people who are transgender will be banned. The Department of Health and Human Services will investigate complaints of anti-transgender discrimination. The decision to investigate discrimination complaints doesn’t discuss transition-related healthcare, but it is a step to getting that care.
In response to a letter sent by a dozen LGBT health and advocacy organizations to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in June, Leon Rodriguez — the director of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights — wrote on July 12 HHS considers discrimination based on “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” in federal health programs or activities receiving funding under Affordable Care Act-covered programs to be illegal.
In the letter, obtained by BuzzFeed, Rodriguez agreed with the groups’ assessment that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Obama’s health care law prohibited discrimination against transgender people and stated that his office would investigate any complaints of such discrimination.
This new development stems from the recent EEOC ruling that discrimination against people who are transgender is sex discrimination. The decision backs up government agencies’ attempts to restrict anti-transgender discrimination.
That decision was Macy v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.