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Lambda files suit over Trump anti-trans policies
by Matt Simonette
2020-06-26

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Lambda Legal announced June 22 that it is suing the federal government over rollbacks the Trump administration announced June 12 to protections against healthcare-related discrimination previously afforded LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender community members.

Lambda filed the suit alongside the San Francisco-based law firm Steptoe & Johnson on behalf of a number of LGBTQ-rights and healthcare organizations, as well as healthcare professionals, across the country.

The rollbacks cancel protections from anti-LGBTQ discrimination that were inscribed in the Affordable Care Act. Many legal experts think that the rollbacks hold relatively little merit legally, particularly since a Supreme Court ruling just three days later said that gender-identity and sexual-orientation can be factors in determining sex-based employment discrimination, a conclusion expected to set significant precedent.

The decision from the Supreme Court "absolutely bolsters our case," said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a Lambda Legal attorney, in a June 22 press conference.

But while the lawsuit proceeds, the Trump rollbacks, set to take effect Aug. 18, can eliminate legal protections for LGBTQ folks, at a time when culturally-competent, particularly for trans community members, is at a premium.

"The Trump administration has continued to negate us," added Bamby Salcedo, the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition. … "We're not going to stand against these continuous injustices against our community."

Salcedo spoke at length about the extent to which transgender Americans experience discrimination when trying to access healthcare services. Since she and members of her organization regularly experienced such treatment, Salcedo was confident that they had legal standing to bring the suit.

She said, "When we try to access healthcare services, we often get turned away. … This is a story that we hear from our members across the country."

"This type of discrimination is routine, and and as healthcare providers we are obligated to do better," added Naseema Shafi of Washington, D.C.-based Whitman-Walker Health.

Indeed, Salcedo noted, many trans individuals would have little choice but to use hospital emergency departments for primary care should the rollbacks be allowed to stand.

"The fact is that the Trump administration is [both] inhumane and a continuous atrocity against our community," she added.


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