A federal appeals court panel rules that gender dysphoria care is covered by the ADA
The ruling from the Virignia-based court could become a tool to challenge legislation restricting access to medical care and other accommodations for transgender people, advocates say.
Advocates for transgender people say a federal ruling that gender dysphoria is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act could hurt conservative political efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care.
A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week became the first federal appellate court in the country to find that the anguish and other symptoms experienced by transgender people over the disparity between their assigned sex and their gender identity is covered under the landmark federal law.
The ruling is binding in the states covered by the Virginia-based 4th Circuit — Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
However, the ruling could give transgender people in other states a powerful tool to challenge legislation restricting access to medical care that assists with gender transitions.
That includes Florida, where a rule took effect Sunday ending Medicaid reimbursements for transgender care such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-affirmation surgery. Attorneys representing individuals and groups plan to file a federal lawsuit challenging the rule.
Also, the Florida Board of Medicine, at the behest of the state Department of Health, is exploring a rule that would ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care to youths.