Christian firm refused to cover trans woman’s healthcare. She’s fighting back

Trans flag

A trans woman in New Hampshire, United States, has filed an official discrimination complaint against her Christian employer after it refused to cover her gender-affirming healthcare.

Lillian Bernier, 31, filed the case against Turbocam, where she works as a machinist, claiming she needs hormone replacement therapy (HRT), counselling, and gender-affirming surgeries, all of which have been denied by her workplace, reported.

“I’m proud of my work as a machinist at Turbocam,” Bernier said in a statement about the complaint, which she filed on 16 December 2022.

“Like everyone else I rely on the pay and healthcare coverage from my job to support myself and my family… I’m just asking for fair coverage and to be treated the same as my coworkers.”

Bernier, who has two sons, claimed she has either put off or paid out-of-pocket for gender-affirming healthcare due to her employer’s policy.

“It’s frustrating and overwhelming not to be treated equally and not to receive the full benefits my coworkers do,” she said. 

You may like to watch

Jordan Pratt, senior counsel at the legal group representing Turbocam, said the company sees all of its employees as “created in God’s image”, and is providing support “consistent with its Mission, faith, and the law”. 

Pratt added that Bernier or other employees could take a cash bonus in order to choose a different health insurance plan, however, Bernier’s lawyers state the money is not enough to cover her gender-affirming healthcare.

Bernier’s lawyer, Chris Erchull, said in a statement: “A company like Turbocam does not have a legally protected right to provide lesser benefits to transgender employees simply because of the owner’s religious belief.

“Lillian is just asking to be treated with the same dignity, humanity, and fairness as other employees of the company.”

Bernier’s discrimination case comes just weeks after it emerged that a bill has been proposed in her home state of New Hampshire that would ban gender-affirming healthcare for both children and young adults

In December 2022, LGBTQ+ activist Erin Reed posted a photo of a proposed Republican bill that would “prohibit gender transition procedures” for minors and young adults in the state.

“New Hampshire has filed LSR0071, which will detransition all trans youth AND young adults if it passes,” Reed said. 

“This is the third bill this week that targets trans ADULTS along with trans youth. They will continue to raise the age until states ban transition entirely.”

The bill has not yet moved through any kind of legislative procedure, and while activists say it likely won’t pass, it mirrors a harmful slew of anti-trans legislation in the US in 2022.

Please login or register to comment on this story.