Transgender Ga. sheriff's deputy sues county for healthcare discrimination

Sgt. Anna Lange, a Houston sheriff’s deputy since 2006, according to her lawsuit, requires “doctor-recommended gender-transition treatment” for gender dysphoria

Joe Kovac Jr.
The Macon Telegraph

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Anna Lange, a transgender woman who is seeking a gender transition, on Wednesday filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the county and its board of commissioners claiming she is being “denied medically-necessary care” under the county’s health insurance plan.

Lange, 46, a Houston sheriff’s deputy since 2006, according to her lawsuit, requires “doctor-recommended gender-transition treatment” for gender dysphoria.

The lawsuit contends the county is discriminating against Lange for “seeking a gender transition” in that her doing so “transgresses gender stereotypes.”

The alleged discrimination is also said to stem from a “stigmatized medical condition,” which the lawsuit claims “targets” Lange and any transgender employees “for inferior treatment compared to their co-workers.”

The lawsuit goes on to mention that Lange, who works in the sheriff’s office’s Criminal Investigations Division, “suffers distress, humiliation, and a loss of dignity because of this targeted discrimination.”

Lange, according to the lawsuit, “wore typical men’s clothing at work” and went by her male birth name up until early 2017 when she began her gender transition.

“This required her to inform her employer that she would begin wearing typical women’s clothing, using her female name, Anna ... and otherwise being openly female at work,” the lawsuit states, adding that “she has found being able to live and work as female — openly and with the acceptance of her colleagues — to be a blessing, and she has continued to perform her work successfully.”

In an interview with The Telegraph last spring, Lange, who has been outspoken against the county’s healthcare stance, said, “The big misunderstanding that I’ve seen on social media is that people think this is a cosmetic procedure. It’s not. Now it has some cosmetic properties, but there’s way more to it. The American Medical Association has shown that it’s a medical necessity and even the insurance companies recognize it as a medical necessity.”

She went on to say, “Some people said that I just want publicity, but if I had just had health insurance you would’ve never heard of me.”

In February, Lange asked county commissioners to include treatment for gender dysphoria to the county’s insurance coverage. The commissioners denied the request.

“It’s been tough,” Lange said at the time. “It makes you feel like you’re not valued as an employee. I work hard for Houston County. I work hard for the people of Houston County.”

©2019 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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