63-year-old trans man to sue Minnesota for gender reassignment surgery

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A transgender man has announced he will sue the US state of Minnesota to gain access to gender reassignment surgery on public insurance.

Evan Thoma, a 63-year-old trans man will work with OutFront Minnesota, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

He says public insurance cover should cover gender reassignment surgery.

Currently the state’s two plans, MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance, offer hormone therapy and counselling, but do not offer gender reassignment surgery.

The state stopped covering access to the surgery in 2005, but did offer it in previous years.

Thomas legally changed his name and gender this year, after starting on hormones in 2013, but said he thinks the coverage should be more comprehensive.

“For me this is an essential next step, and my doctors know this, we all know this, and at the same time here is the state just slamming this door in my face and saying no, you have to stop here, if you’re in pain that’s just too bad,” Thomas told KSTP.

He wrote on a blog post for the ACLU: “Without surgery, I can’t escape the dissonance between my body as it is and the way my brain insists it should be,”

“If I had a flat, firm chest instead of the weight and softness of breasts, I could hold my head up and stand tall and proud. I could look in the mirror and be at peace with my own image. I could, maybe, learn to love my whole self.”

Public health insurance only covers gender reassignment surgery in 10 US states and Washington DC.

Legislation has already been introduced in Minnesota to overturn the ban.