Trans library employee sues to have gender reassignment surgery on health plan

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A transgender employee at a library is suing after she was denied gender reassignment surgery on her healthcare cover.

A long-serving employee of the Public Library of Cincinnati, Rachel Dovel, is suing the library, accusing it of discrimination.


The federal lawsuit filed on Monday by Dovel, who has worked at the institution for ten years, also names the insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

She began to transition in 2014, and legally changed her name, as well as taking hormone replacements.

But she applied to the healthcare provider for gender reassignment surgery and was told by Anthem that it would not be covered under her plan, according to her complaint.

According to the federal lawsuit, Anthem said it would not pay for “sex transformation … regardless of origin or cause.”

Dovel’s attorney Jennifer Branch said of the case: “It is time for blatant discrimination against transgender employees to end.

“A government employer, like the public library, knows it cannot discriminate against its transgender employees; but yet it continues to deny Ms. Dovel necessary medical treatment.”

The library is yet to comment on the case.

The federal lawsuit filed on Monday by Dovel seeks to have her medical costs covered for the surgery, and to have the insurance provider banned from selling policies which exclude treatments for gender dysphoria.

The plaintiff has already booked and paid for her gender reassignment surgery, after having taken out a loan to cover it.

According to Branch, the lawsuit seeks to cover the estimated $25,000 in medical costs.