A Queer Eye star just won a major battle to overturn an anti-trans healthcare policy

Skyler Jay hugging Jonathan Van Ness

Skyler Jay, a trans man who appeared on Queer Eye season two, has won a major battle for trans-inclusive healthcare coverage.

Jay made history in 2018 when he became Queer Eye’s first-ever trans hero, in an episode which memorably opened with footage of him undergoing top surgery.

Unbeknown to viewers, he was forced to cover his own surgery costs after his employer’s medical insurance denied him coverage.

After losing an appeal against the policy, Jay, who works as a catering manager for the University System of Georgia (USG), filed a lawsuit against his insurer and his employer which has now been resolved with a far-reaching settlement.

It was announced on Tuesday, October 1, that USG, which covers all 26 of Georgia’s higher education institutions and the state’s entire public library service, has agreed to end its exclusionary policy and will now provide trans-inclusive coverage to all employees.

Jay will also receive $100,000 in compensation, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A judge dismissed a complaint against Jay’s insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, ruling that it could only enforce policies chosen by the employer.

Skyler Jay says healthcare settlement is historic.

The 32-year-old said that the settlement feels like “history for our community”.

“Given the administration and the politics facing the transgender community, we’re unfortunately losing a lot of battles right now. At the end of the day, there is so much more work to be done, but this is a huge move,” he told Out.

Jay said that after appearing on Queer Eye, he had been inundated with messages of support and stories of similar healthcare-related battles.

“I’ve had so many people from this state contact me since Queer Eye to say, ‘I can’t be out but what can I do to help you,’ or that ‘I need this for my child because we have to pay for my child’s hormones out of pocket,’ and countless other messages,” he said.

These messages are the biggest reasons why I was unwilling to budge.

“These messages from other people are the biggest reasons why I was unwilling to budge about the removal of these exclusions.”

Jay was represented by Transcend Legal, a law firm owned and operated by trans man with a focus on helping people get trans-related health care coverage under insurance.