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Transgender rights case in which a state employee was denied insurance coverage for medically necessary surgery on the basis of his gender identity.


Visit Lambda Legal’s Know Your Rights: Transgender campaign hub to learn more about the legal rights of trans people.

Alec Esquivel is a law school graduate who is clerking for the Oregon Court of Appeals. Assigned female sex at birth, he was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in 2001 and began to take steps to have his body match his male gender identity. In 2010, as part of his transition-related health plan, Alec sought insurance coverage for a hysterectomy, a procedure that routinely is covered for other employees under the state’s health plan. Esquivel’s doctor then submitted a request for insurance coverage. On June 21, 2010, Esquivel was denied based on the plan’s categorical exclusion of transition-related health care, a violation of Oregon’s antidiscrimination guarantees. Lambda Legal’s lawsuit seeks recognition that denying a public employee the same coverage that others receive because of the employee’s gender identity violates Oregon’s Equality Act and its guarantees of equal treatment in the workplace regardless of gender identity.

    • April 2010 Esquivel’s doctor submits a request for insurance coverage for the hysterectomy and oophorectomy.
    • June 2010 Esquivel’s request for insurance coverage is denied.
    • December 2010 Lambda Legal administratively appeals, on behalf of Esquivel, the denial of coverage for hysterectomy and oophorectomy.
    • April 2011 Esquivel receives final administrative denial of his request for health coverage.
    • June 2011 Lambda Legal files lawsuit against the State of Oregon (Esquivel’s employer), and the Public Employee’s Benefit Board
    • January 2013 Victory! The State of Oregon agrees to change employee health care policy to remove all language that denies coverage to transgender people for transition-related health care.